Republican Congressional candidate Dan Meuser says public service is in his blood and he’s ready to serve as representative of Pennsylvania’s 9th district in Washington, D.C.
Meuser, 54, first threw his hat in the ring for Congress in the 2008 primary, but lost the Republican nomination in a close vote to Chris Hackett. Beginning in 2011, he was given the opportunity to be involved in public service for four years as secretary of revenue under Gov. Tom Corbett.
As secretary of revenue, Meuser negotiated with Amazon to collect remitted sales tax within the state and collected $48 million within the first year. He said he was part of Corbett’s team that created a performance-based tax credit of 5 cents per barrel for companies using Pennsylvania’s natural gas in the process of making ethylene, which he believes to be one of the main reasons Pennsylvania was chosen as the site of the Shell cracker plant in Beaver County.
“The main footprint we left at revenue was an understanding that the department should work for the tax payer; that it’s tax payers’ money and it was never us against them. It’s us for them,” said Meuser.
Meuser’s experience as secretary of revenue gave him an understanding of how to get things done and help him understand what motivates legislators, he said. He can help bills and amendments that are in the interest of the 9th district become more passable through discussions, negotiations and not being afraid to point out who is not “on board with a particular piece of legislation because it doesn’t serve their self interest or because it serves special interests.”
Meuser currently lives in Dallas with his wife, Shelley, and they are the proud parents of three children and two yellow labs. He attended the New York Maritime University and transferred to Cornell on a Navy ROTC scholarship. Meuser began working for Pride Mobility Products in 1988, and served as president of Pride USA until being named secretary of revenue. He has since become a board member and consultant in Pride Mobility and has had dealings in real estate and investments in small communities.
He announced his campaign on Sept. 7, entering not long after Rep. Lou Barletta announced his bid for Senate. Meuser had known of Barletta’s intentions to run prior to his August announcement, stating Barletta contacted him and told him President Donald Trump was encouraging him to run for the Senate, so he was encouraging Meuser to run for his seat in the House.
Congress is no longer “business as usual,” said Meuser, and he thinks people are beginning to understand that. He doubts he’s going to be well-liked by those in Washington, D.C., but said he will be well-liked by the constituents of the 9th district because he intends on getting things done.
Meuser views the job as 50 percent working in Washington, D.C., and 50 percent working in his home district, and believes his existing relationships with county commissioners and state legislators will allow them to easily work together to complete local projects.
Should he be elected into Congress, Meuser said he hopes to be on transportation, infrastructure, small business and veterans affairs committees.
Illegal immigration and repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) are high on his to-do list, as well as making recent tax reductions permanent.
The Veterans Choice Program, which allows eligible veterans to receive healthcare from a community provider rather than travel to a VA hospital, must be expanded, he said, noting the program contains loop holes that create obstacles for veterans to receive expeditious care. Veterans hospitals as a whole need to be better equipped and organized, he added.
A rating system which determines disability benefits and pensions must be altered to provide faster evaluations and approvals for veterans as well, said Meuser. Veterans face numerous frustrating obstacles while attempting to receive the help they need, and he wants to dedicate his time to making receiving benefits easier.
Meuser would also dedicate time to tackling the opioid epidemic by having public servants work together on a plan because currently “there’s a lot of talk but not enough getting done.” Police departments, in his opinion, are the only ones who are executing a plan to combat the epidemic, and he believes they need more help rather than just governmental recommendations.
Meuser said he understands the importance of coal and supports a recent bill sponsored by Barletta in which co-gen plants that use coal for power earn $12 per ton tax credit for the coal waste clean-up.
“What’s so brilliant about such an initiative is it’s so necessary and it’s a performance-based tax credit, which means you can only get it if you go to these culm banks, load up your trucks and carry that to your facility,” he said.
It is possible rare earth elements (REE) exist within the coal and culm banks, which could help produce one of the greatest economic boosts to the United States. There are 17 rare earth minerals used in modern technology such as cell phones, televisions, hospital machinery, airplanes and more, but right now most of those minerals are imported from China.
Meuser advocates for removing all regulatory barriers that would hinder locating the REEs, if they exist, and would support funding to perform low-level excavation using technology rather than strip mining to locate the REEs.
Thanks to his 25 years in the private sector, Meuser said he knows how to get results, and his work as secretary of revenue shows he knows how to apply business practices in government effectively.
He wants constituents to know he is running for all the right reasons without self-interest and with no special interest guiding him in his journey to Washington, D.C.
“We need someone who can step up and handle problems large and small, and most importantly, be willing to put in the work to really serve people and be their voice in Washington,” he said. “I want people in the 9th district to think they’re got the best darn congressman in the country.”