2 state reps visit White House, bring res­i­dents’ con­cerns

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - LOCAL - BY JILL WHALEN STAFF WRITER

State Reps. Jerry Knowles, D-124, Ta­maqua, and Gerald Mull ery,D -119, New­port Twp., were among the bi­par­ti­san con­tin­gent from the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in­vited to the White House on Thurs­day to dis­cuss ways to build stronger re­la­tion­ships between fed­eral and lo­cal gov­ern­ments.

“A lot of good stuff is be­ing talked about,” Knowles said in a Thurs­day af­ter­noon call from Wash­ing­ton, D. C. “When did you ever hear of a pres­i­dent con­tact­ing county com­mis­sion­ers and con­tact­ing lo­cal leg­is­la­tors be­cause he wants to know what’s on their minds and what they want to talk about?”

Ac­cord­ing to in­for­ma­tion from the White House, more than 70 mem­bers of the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and other lo­cal elected of­fi­cials were in­vited.

Fol­low­ing a tour of the White House, Knowles said at­ten­dees par­tic­i­pated in lo­cal­ized pol­icy dis­cus­sions with White House staffers and heard pre­sen­ta­tions from a num­ber of fed­eral agen­cies.

“They talked about health care, about roads and the econ­omy. There was a time to ask ques­tions and have them ad­dressed,” he said.

Leg­is­la­tors also talked about Pres­i­dent Trump’ s pro­posed tax plan.

“It in­volves fair taxes for hard­work­ing Amer­i­cans,” Know les ex­plained .“It’ s go­ing to be a break for the av­er­age hard­work­ing guy, for the per­son who packs a lunch can and goes to work ev­ery day. It will put more in his pocket, and as a re­sult, it will help the econ­omy.”

Reg­u­la­tions were also a hot topic.

“For ex­am­ple, we all want to pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment but we need to be rea­son­able and we need to be cer­tain that what we do is not dam­ag­ing the busi­nesses. We want to grow busi­nesses,” he said. “In my district, I have peo­ple wait­ing around for 18 months and more for per­mits. We have to make a busi­ness-friendly Penn­syl­va­nia for a busi­ness friendly Amer­ica.”

Knowles noted that the in­vi­ta­tion-only event was held a day af­ter Trump’s visit to Har­ris­burg.

Of the White House visit, Mullery said he was able to meet with many of the of­fi­cials he needs for help solv­ing con­stituents’ problems.

“I am of­ten con­tacted by con­stituents with is­sues per­tain­ing to fed­eral pro­grams and im­ped­i­ments en­coun­tered with our fed­eral govern­ment. As such, I will take ad­van­tage of any ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties or co­op­er­a­tion I can foster with fed­eral of­fi­cials to help those I rep­re­sent,” Mullery said.

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