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U.S. Congressman Dan Muser contacts Main Street during his visit to Kutztown

Congressmen spend a lot of time in Washington.

It is the place where they legislate, where they meet on the committee and with party leaders. It’s where they interact with lobbyists and where they hold press conferences to talk about the latest hotly debated bills.

But Capitol Hill is not their whole world.

Perhaps as important as, or even more important than, creating a deal in Washington, there are members who also tend to be members of the House of Representatives.

After all, they are chosen to represent the people who live in their district, and those same people who will decide whether or not they will continue to work.

Congressman Dan Meuser is keenly aware of the importance of touching his supporters and the base. That’s why he took him to Kutztown on a lively afternoon earlier this week.

“This reminds me of what you’re working for,” said a Luzerne County Republican, standing outside the last stop of the day at Mark’s sandwich shop on Main Street. “You need to learn from the real world, not just hear about Washington and read in the newspaper.

“You ask what their struggle is, what they care about, and what they want you to work on.”

Karen Shuey — Reading Eagle

US Rep. Dan Muser spent about two hours talking to the business owner when he visited Kutztown’s main street on Tuesday. (Karen Shuey-Reading Eagle)

Meuser spent about two hours getting in and out of business along the main street and talked with owners and employees about what they could do to make their lives easier in Washington.

As a member of the House Small Business Committee, he said he found those conversations very helpful.

“I want to let them know that I’m working for them,” he said. “Especially, small business owners who are tackling so many obstacles to get out of the COVID crisis. There is a lot of pressure facing the small business community and we have what they need to come out. You need to make sure you have it. “

Meuser, who represents most of Berks County, has heard from some small business owners about some of the problems they face when they start welcoming patrons who want to return to normal. The problems they emphasized were rising costs, labor shortages, and supply chain shortages.

Golden Avalanche Brewing Co. Joe Miola told parliamentarians that finding someone to fill a vacant seat at Kutztown Tavern, the restaurant that houses the brewery, is difficult.

Karen Shuey — Reading Eagle

US Congressman Dan Meuser and Mayor James Schlegel Katztown on the left are taking lessons on how to brew beer from Joe Miora, head of brewing at the Golden Avalanche Brewing Company. (Karen Shuey-Reading Eagle)

“It’s great to see people sitting in bar stools these days,” he said. “During the pandemic, when we were closed it was certainly rough and we were about to return to where it was before it hit.”

Miora said she hopes some people are willing to return to work soon. Meanwhile, he said he was willing to help in the kitchen on the night when the business was booming.

“Everyone here is a team player and we have to do that these days,” he said.

At the next stop, Muser met business owner Elaine Kilganon at the Second Nature Health Food Store, a few blocks away. And she was ready for the opportunity to share her thoughts.

“I’m ready,” she said with a laugh, showing a piece of paper packed with handwritten notes.

Kilganon raised many concerns she had as a small business owner.

Her main concern was finding ways to restore the workforce, especially a few months ago, when more workers were at home due to the increased unemployment benefits of the CARES Act.

Elaine Kilgannon, owner of the Second Nature Health Food Store, spoke with US Congressman Dan Meuser during a visit to Kutztown on Tuesday. (Karen Shuey-Reading Eagle)

Another concern is to prevent online retailers from stealing customers.

E-commerce has seen great profits during the pandemic, but the boom has primarily helped large corporations.

According to the report by New York TimesLast year, 10 major retailers accounted for 68% of all e-commerce sales, and Amazon alone accounted for more than half of all online sales.

“It’s our biggest competition,” she said. “And we continue to bring it here. There are these large warehouses that accept employees in this area, which is not enough from the beginning.

Moser said she would keep her concerns in mind when returning to Washington. He asked one of the staff members who accompanied the tour to take notes to keep the information handy.

“It’s important for me that my members know that I can access them,” he said. “I will do whatever I can to ensure that SMEs have what they need to survive.”

U.S. Congressman Dan Muser contacts Main Street during his visit to Kutztown

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