Newly-elected U.S. Congressman Fred Keller stopped by Tioga Publishing’s office in Wellsboro Wednesday, May 29 to discuss his goals for the 12th Congressional District.
Congressman Tom Marino resigned earlier this year after being re-elected to another term in November.
Keller, who served in the state House of Representatives for eight years representing Snyder and Union counties prior to being elected in the May 21 special election to fill Marino’s vacated seat, said he appreciates all that Marino did during his “lifetime of service.”
“He is a really outstanding individual and I am proud to name him as a friend,” Keller said.
As a long time business owner — he owned Conestoga Wood Specialties for 25 years — Keller said he plans to bring those “real life” experiences with him to his new job as Congressman.
He was sworn in Monday, June 3.
“I am in the process of putting together a good team,” Keller said.
Among them are chief of staff Jon Anzur and district director Ann Kaufman, who will manage his offices in Williamsport, Tunkhannock and Selinsgrove.
“I will be going right into legislative session to work on legislation currently before the House of Representatives,” Keller said.
Areas of concern include roads, bridges, broadband access and flood control, as well as natural gas pipelines.
“We also will be making sure we take care or our veterans,” Keller said.
Keller said he will work to make President Donald Trump’s middle class tax cuts permanent.
“And we will be working on workforce development,” he added.
Though no longer part of his responsibility, Keller discussed how charging rural residents a yearly fee for state police protection is a topic many Pennsylvanians have expressed concerns about.
“We will be looking at where resources are expended based on usage rather than saying we are going to charge you for because you don’t have crime,” he said.
Keller noted Act 89, passed during the Ridge administration, was meant to address that.
“So over the years we will start to bring some of that money back,” he said
The roll out of REAL ID driver’s licenses is another item Keller discussed, calling it a “safety issue.”
Though the driver’s licenses are available now, they are more expensive, but Keller said that “some money” will come through for that.
“In Pennsylvania, you have an option of getting it or not. People who are going to use it are going to pay for it,” he said.
Keller said that during his campaign, which he called a “privilege,” he “reaffirmed that the people who live here are outstanding individuals.”
“It is my pleasure to work for them and to serve them,” he added, calling them “good, hardworking, thoughtful people.”