BY DAVID BARR / PUBLISHED: MARCH 7, 2018
POTTSVILLE — Dan Meuser, secretary of revenue under former Gov. Tom Corbett, is seeking Lou Barletta’s vacant seat in the new 9th Congressional District.
On Tuesday, he visited The Republican-Herald to discuss his background and hopes for serving in Congress.
“The work we did at revenue proved to me that government can work for people. Government can be there to help. I think our government has gotten too big. The last thing government actually does is help. It hinders, it inhibits, it makes it more difficult. It does not enable,” Meuser said. “Donald Trump says we want to make America great again. It’s the people that are going to make America great again, and government’s role and my role as a member of Congress should be only to be supportive and enable.”
Meuser is seeking the GOP nomination in the May 15 primary to run against the Democratic nominee, vying to succeed former Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta in representing the district.
Under a plan imposed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Feb. 19, the 9th District is comprised of all of Carbon, Columbia, Lebanon, Montour and Schuylkill counties and parts of Northumberland, Luzerne and Berks counties.
Meuser announced his candidacy in September 2017 before the redrawn districts were announced.
Meuser was born and raised on Long Island. He attended New York Maritime University and later transferred to Cornell on a Navy ROTC scholarship. He joined his brother and father in a business called Pride Health Care, later named Pride Mobility Products, after college. Pride Health Care manufactured personal mobility products. Meuser said he began developing an interest in politics in the early 2000s and in 2011, was nominated by Corbett to serve as the secretary of revenue. In that role, his leadership was recognized by the Council On State Taxation for improving the department’s rating from a D-plus to an A-minus.
Having his predecessor’s blessing helped Meuser decide to run. Barletta was asked by Trump to run and Barletta said to Meuser, “The president asked me to run, I’m encouraging you to run. I’m urging you to run for my seat.”
Barletta said he has spent enough time in Congress to know what is needed and what isn’t, and told Meuser, “I believe you can do that and I’m encouraging you to run.”
On the topic of tariffs, Meuser said he is open to the possibility of a temporary ban until other countries start to reciprocate in kind.
“Where I am is free trade and fair trade need to go hand in hand and they often don’t. I’m not for tariffs. They should be reciprocal. We can’t be a martyr nation,” Meuser said.
He was also critical of the recent redistricting in the middle of an election process. Meuser initially announced to run for the 11th District in September. Due to changes to the map, he is now running for the 9th District and can legally do so, given his residence is in Dallas, Luzerne County. He said he is not opposed to moving if need be.
“I think it was appalling. It was quite disruptive and I wasn’t necessarily expecting it. The good news is with this new map, five of the counties that were in the original 11 are in the new 9th,” he said.
Meuser said he will have an office in Pottsville if he is successful.
Meuser believes he can make a difference in Congress if elected.
“I think I can be a very effective member of Congress. I’ve seen legislators up close as revenue secretary and as being in the governor’s Cabinet. I saw why people would vote for things in Legislature and why they wouldn’t. And a lot of times I didn’t really like what I was seeing there either. There wasn’t exactly a lot of courage taking place. It was a lot of ‘I need to keep my job’ taking place. And that’s not what they’re there for. It’s not about special interests. It’s about you. It’s about what’s best for the district and the country. All the time,” Meuser said.
Contact the writer: [email protected]; 570-628-6011