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Congressman Bill Shuster visits Tyrone

Congressman Bill Shuster used the recent recess from Congress to meet the constituents of the Ninth District of Pennsylvania and also learn about the issues that they are facing. Shuster held office hours in Tyrone last week and was happy to meet people of Northern Blair County.
“I thought the office hours in Tyrone went very well,” said Shuster. “We had nearly a dozen people come in and we met with people who have problems with medicare, problems with some community issues in which they were looking for help from the Federal Government. There was a young student in here who had an interest in working for the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and wanted some information about that and a young guy who wants to attend one of the military academies so it was great to get to know him and what his views are.
“There were a couple people who came to say what they thought the Federal Government was doing and how it was effecting small businesses or medicare,” said the Congressman. “The whole idea behind the office hours is to give the people the opportunity to sit down and talk to their representative in Congress, and ask for assistance from the Federal Government. Based on that it was a successful day. We always come out of office hours with more work to do and that is what it is all about.”
Shuster took the time to sit down and speak about the some of the issues facing residents of Northern Blair County.
The congressman spoke of the importance of healthcare for a rural region.
“Smaller hospitals bring three big things to a community,” said Shuster. “They provide first and foremost healthcare. Second, they are an economic engine. They create good paying jobs for people. Third, they are an economic development tool. When you are attracting new industry, they want quality healthcare nearby. One of the fundamental economic tools is to have a good healthcare facility. Tyrone has that. These are three critical things that will help the economic development of Northern Blair County.”
The House of Representatives narrowly passed a Medicare bill in late June that will impact many residents of Northern Blair County.
“It is going to put in place a prescription drug program for seniors,” said Shuster. “It is going to be phased in over a couple years. The significant thing that hasn’t been reported yet is that the PACE program that is in place now and the new Medicare program, the new prescription drug program will come into place and will wrap around PACE. Pennsylvania will save around $200 million for the PACE program. What they will be able to do is take the Medicare program and wrap PACE around it. Pennsylvania seniors will have one of the best prescription drug programs in the nation. We had the director of the PACE program in Washington working with us to make sure that this was good for Pennsylvanians.”
Shuster is confident that the bill passed by the House that has entered conference committee with the Senate will benefit rural hospitals.
The conversation with Shuster took place Monday morning, and he said there would be an announcement on the economic development front soon. It happened to be the next day at the former Westvaco plant. The congressman says the completion of Interstate 99 will help spark economic growth in the Northern Blair County area.
“I have talked to companies almost every week and I talk to them about central Pennsylvania,” said Shuster. “A lot of them said we have looked at the map and the I-99 corridor is a great location, but it’s not done. We’re not going to spend X amount of dollars when the extension to I-80 is slowed down because of a nine mile stretch of road. They (outside companies) understand that we have a great quality work force in our region. You can buy land here at a relatively inexpensive price. We have the hospitals, we have good schools, we are going to have the roads. Our next concern is getting the rest of the infrastructure, water, sewer, the basics of economic development. We need to have the technology… high speed internet access. We have to work on all levels of government and get the infrastructure in place, and that is what I am committed to do.”