WILKES-BARRE — Dan Meuser made it official Tuesday — he will enter the race for the Republican nomination for Congress in the 11th District.
Meuser, the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Revenue, will run for the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, who last week announced he will seek the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.
Meuser, 53, of Kingston Township, said he is a conservative who is focused on getting things done.
“And that’s important,” Meuser said. “A conservative to me means focusing on policies that have made America great.”
Meuser said he will support President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.
“I know the 11th District — all of it,” Meuser said. “And I’ve been asked by many of my neighbors, small business people and Republican Party leadership to run for this office. But that’s not what swayed me. It was the support I have of my family, friends and neighbors that convinced me to enter the race.”
Meuser said he was asked to support Barletta’s Senate bid and also to consider running for Barletta’s House seat.
“Lou Barletta and I have been friends for years,” said Meuser. “We have always been supportive of each other. This election will be up to the voters of the 11th Congressional District and that will be my focus. Both Lou and I will fight for an agenda that puts America’s interests first and rebuilds the middle class so the economy works for everyone.”
Meuser has lived in the 11th District for more than 25 years. He and his wife of 27 years raised their family in the district. Meuser joined Pride Healthcare, based in Luzerne County and now called Pride Mobility Products, in 1988. He became president of Pride Mobility USA in 2001 and continues as a consultant and board member. Pride is one of the leading manufacturers of power mobility and complex rehab devices in the country and employs more than 800 in Northeast Pennsylvania.
“I’ve spent 25 years in the private sector helping create thousands of jobs,” Meuser said. “During this time, my wife and I supported many important causes including the YMCA, local colleges, the Back Mountain Recreation Association and the Wyoming County Children’s Association.”
In 2010, Meuser was named Secretary of the Department of Revenue. He said he and his team worked to reform the department, implementing customer-first policies, and treating taxpayers like customers. Under Meuser’s leadership, the Revenue Department was named the most improved in the country and received a grade improvement from a D+ to an A- from the Council on State Taxation.
“We worked day in and day out to make sure that everyone knew that it was taxpayers who came first at the Department of Revenue,” Meuser said. “Our team reformed the department and turned it into a taxpayer advocacy agency, rather than a mere collector of taxes.”
Meuser said he will be an advocate for an economy that works for everyone, a health care system that provides access and affordability without the heavy-handed mandates of Obamacare, and a strong military ready to defeat ISIS and any other threat to our nation.
He also believes the next Congressman must be accessible to the people.
“I will be very engaged and constituent focused, making sure that I am accessible and transparent,” Meuser said. “That means being involved in resolving issues, large and small, throughout the district.”
He will be traveling to each county in the 11th District over the next two weeks.
Meuser ran for Congress in 2008 when it was the 10th Congressional District before the state Legislature realigned districts. He lost in the Republican primary to Chris Hackett, who went on to lose to incumbent Democrat Chris Carney in the general election.
Others reportedly considering entering the congressional race include state Rep. Tarah Toohil, R-Butler Township, and Democrats state Sen. John Yudichak of Plymouth Township and Luzerne County Council Member Tim McGinley.
Yudichak, 47, said his intent is to run for re-election to the state Senate in 2018. But he said he has been contacted by many national and local Democratic leaders to consider entering the 11th District race. He said out of respect for all of those supporters, he intends to weigh all the pros and cons and will discuss the possibility with his wife and four daughters.
“I will make an announcement regarding my intentions by the end of September,” said Yudichak.