TOWANDA - In an interview Thursday with The Daily Review, congressional candidate Thomas A. Marino said he would cut taxes and spending in Washington and that the United States should "continue to fight and defeat the terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Marino, who is a former U.S. attorney, said he is running for Congress in the 10th District because he is frustrated with the way things are being handled in Washington.

"It seems like our interests are not being represented (in Washington)," said Marino, 57, in an interview with staff from The Daily Review. "It's run by a handful of people who think they know what's best for us."

Marino, a Republican who is running for U.S. Rep. Chris Carney's seat, was in Bradford County on Thursday to meet with newspapers and campaign at a spaghetti dinner at the Wysox Fire Hall.

Marino, who served from 2002 to 2007 as the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and almost 12 years prior to that as the Lycoming County district attorney, said Republican voters should look at his experience when nominating a candidate for Congress in the May primary.

"I have some life experience," he said. "I was a factory worker. I raised a family, adopting two children ... I have been responsible for supervising hundreds of people and millions of dollars worth of budgets."

Marino, who lives in Lycoming Township in Lycoming County, said he comes from a lower middle-class family. His father was a fireman and a janitor. Marino said he began college after he turned 30, and that his wife and he put himself through college and law school.

Marino said that widespread public dissatisfaction with President Obama and congressional leaders will help him to win the congressional seat.

"I am a conservative individual, particularly fiscally," Marino said.

Asked what he would do as a congressman to help the economy, Marino said: "I will put together legislation and vote for legislation that lowers taxes. It puts money into our pockets. We (the people) are smart enough - and smarter than those people in Washington - to spend our money the way we see fit."

He said he feels strongly that lowering taxes will stimulate the economy.

Marino also called for spending cuts in Washington in order to address the federal deficits and national debt.

"This is a long-term problem that we need to face," Marino said. "Because, right now, my kids and their kids will be strapped with paying this debt off."

Marino said he would "downsize Washington" partly through attrition, which will reduce the large number of employees on the federal payroll in Washington.

He said he would also cut "selected areas" of the federal budget, but not cut programs for senior citizens and the defense budget.

"I still believe we need a strong defense," Marino said. "We cannot touch anything that affects seniors, because they are living on a tight budget right now."

Marino also said he would not have voted for the health care bill that passed in the House.

He said he had a "personal stake" in the health care legislation being considered by Congress, because he has a 14-year-old daughter with cystic fibrosis, an incurable disease that will limit her lifespan.

"I don't want some bureaucrat in Washington telling me where I have to take my daughter for medical treatment, telling me 'We can't afford to spend money on her because there is no cure for her disease,'" Marino said.

Regarding the war in Iraq, he said: "I don't believe in any timeline (for withdrawing from Iraq). We need to withdraw when the time is right. We certainly have to do everything we can to make the Iraqis responsible for their own military, for their economy, and for running their country. But it would be for nought - the lives lost in terrorist attacks, the military key personnel we lost - it would be all in vain if stepped away from it at this point. Whether it's Iraq, Iran or Afghanistan, we need to continue to fight and defeat the terrorists."

Marino's association with Mount Airy Casino Resort developer Louis DeNaples has drawn criticism from the Carney campaign.

After Marino resigned as a U.S. attorney, Marino represented DeNaples' non-casino businesses for two years.

"I had no (financial) interest in the casino," Marino said. "I did no work for the casino. Mr. DeNaples never asked me for anything. I never asked him for anything ... He's a friend. No one to this point has pointed out to me why I should not be his friend. And I will not throw him under the bus for a vote. Loyalty means a lot to me."

DeNaples, who is a Dunmore businessman, once faced state and federal criminal investigations.

However, the only charges filed against DeNaples - perjury during testimony to a Dauphin County grand jury - were withdrawn last April as part of a deal with prosecutors. The deal allowed him to turn over control of the casino to his daughter, Lisa, but stay active in management.

Marino said that among the ways that dairy farmers, who have been suffering from low milk prices, could be helped would be to significantly cut, if not eliminate, the estate tax.

While the U.S. needs to protect its borders from illegal immigrants, it would be helpful to farmers to "cut away a lot of the red tape that it takes to get a legitimate legal immigrant into the county to help farmers," Marino said. He said that farmers depend on these laborers because most U.S. citizens are not willing to do the work they do.

When asked if he supports the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act, Marino said:

"I live out in the country and on a well. I don't want anybody or anything polluting my water. We have to make sure that does not happen. There has to be some type of regulation, and I think we do have regulation with the combination of the federal and state guidelines on that process. But we can't overregulate and penalize the industry that's coming in here. It looks like it is creating and will continue (to create) many jobs."

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633: or e-mail: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.