Mullery takes ‘One.19’ initiative to Hazle Township

HARRISBURG, Feb. 13 – State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, continued his constituent and community outreach service dubbed “One.19” with a visit to Hazle Township.

“The ‘One.19’ initiative enables me to hear firsthand concerns, complaints and priorities directly from my constituents,” Mullery said.

Mullery’s tour began by meeting with Jason and Paul Brenner at Brenner Recycling. Brenner Recycling is a fourth-generation, family-owned business that provides recycling and scrap metal services. The company employs 18 workers and operates a fleet of industrial vehicles. Mullery and the Brenners discussed several issues, including legislation amending the Precious Metal Sale Regulation Law and the Covered Device Recycling Act. Mullery also received a tour of the working yard and met with employees.

“Being able to see their operation firsthand certainly gives new perspective to the impact of proposed legislation,” Mullery said. “Jason and Paul’s industry knowledge and input regarding the suggested bills were extremely helpful.”

Mullery then met with Kathie Oh, owner and marketing director of Fyzical Therapy and Balance Center at its Church Hill Mall location. Fyzical is a small, family-owned business of 12 employees including a medical doctor, physiologists, licensed therapists, and service experts who provide prescribed physical therapy and medically based physical fitness to their patients/clients. Healthcare costs and reimbursement were discussed at length with Oh. She also stressed the importance of insurance carriers being more flexible with reimbursement of preventative health care treatment including gym memberships. Mullery and Oh discussed the role of small healthcare providers in a system increasingly dominated by larger health networks.

“During my eight years on the Health Committee I’ve seen the exceptional and cost-effective care small, independent providers like Fyzical are able to deliver. Their state-of-the-art facility and caring staff were very impressive,” Mullery said.

Mullery had the opportunity to meet with several officials from CAN DO, Greater Hazleton’s industrial and economic development arm. President and CEO Kevin O’Donnell, Vice President Joseph Lettiere and Ken Okrepkie of Ben Franklin Technology Partners provided the representative with an update of development and industry recruitment in the Humboldt and Valmont Industrial Parks. Additionally, the group discussed the manufacturing and industrial future of the communities in the Interstate 81 corridor between Schuylkill County and Scranton and the impact such expansion would have on local communities and education systems. Mullery questioned the trio about transportation infrastructure concerns, the need for middle-income family housing, and the workforce pool.

“This is a very exciting time for Northeastern Pennsylvania. Our industrial parks are capable of attracting large, multi-national companies able to pay family sustaining wages,” Mullery said.

The representative visited the CAN BE Innovation Center and met with Coordinator of Entrepreneurial Services Jocelyn Sterenchock. CAN BE operates out of a 15,000-square-foot facility and provides leased space and a program that helps nurture new businesses during their startup years. Sterenchock provided Mullery with examples of how the incubator has assisted its current occupants and those who have successfully graduated the program. Mullery received a tour of the facility and was able to meet with many of the entrepreneurs.

“Having owned my own small business, I understand how difficult navigating the startup process can be. The service and support provided in this incubator is unbelievably helpful.” Mullery said.

Mullery met with Kelley Major and CJ Graff, owners of Candelles, an eco-friendly candle and scent company, which began as a hobby. With the help of CAN BE, Candelles has grown substantially and deliberately and is on-pace to graduate in a few years. They credit much of their success to the assistance and guidance provided by CAN BE.

Sterenchock was proud to report several clients in the incubator were minority-, women- or veteran-owned.

Mullery concluded his Hazle Township visit by reviewing several ongoing and future projects in the township with supervisors Jim Montone and Butch Boyarski. The supervisors continued to express concern over the Atlantic Carbon operation on Stockton Road. Additionally, the trio discussed the possible reallocation of multimodal funds to better serve township residents.

Mullery thanked the supervisors for allowing him to utilize the Hazle Township Commons Building on the first Wednesday of every month to host constituent outreach.

The lawmaker intends to stop at all 19 municipalities in his legislative district during the 2019-20 legislative session. He will provide updates of each visit on his website – -- and social media. Constituents can also contact his office at 570-740-7031.

Photos of the Hazle Township visit may be found here.