Senator Toomey Tours Region, Visits Local Lumber Company

HAZEN, Pa. (EYT) – U.S. Senator Pat Toomey was in the region on Tuesday, and part of his day was spent touring Brownlee Lumber near Hazen.

Brownlee Lumber has been in business since 1973 when brothers Dan and Charles Brownlee began with a log skidder and truck.

Today, they employ nearly 50 people and are still a family-owned business with an independently-operated modern complex of sawmills, dry kilns, and planer mill that produces 10 million feet of hardwood lumber annually.

Dan Brownlee led the tour informing Toomey about how the lumber business works.

Toomey - Brownlee Lumber Tour

(Above: Dan Brownlee leads a tour of his lumber company to U.S. Senator Pat Toomey.)

“This is a significant industry for Pennsylvania and for this part of Pennsylvania and a thriving company that is doing well,” Toomey said. “It has its challenges and issues, and I just wanted to learn more about the business.”

Toomey spoke about tax and health care reform as well as deregulation that he believes will help small businesses. He also shared his thoughts on how President Donald Trump looks at free trade, stating that he’s not sure about President Trump’s trade negotiations with other countries.

“We’ll see about that,” Toomey said. “I don’t view the world the same way the President does in regard to trade. I think trade is good for America; it elevates our standard of living both when we are importing and exporting, and he seems to see it differently, so we have yet to see if the President will negotiate better trade agreements or just different ones.”

Senator Toomey said he was confident of tax reform becoming a reality when Congress reconvenes next week.

“I think the chances of tax reform are better than even. There’s still an open question about how ambitious it will be and how sweeping it is, but work is underway, and it’s gonna be the front burner item when we get back next week,” Toomey said.

Toomey challenged the notion that for tax reform to happen, a new health care plan had to be in place.

“That was never true, and while it would have been better to get the health care reform done and then move on to tax reform, tax reform was never dependent on doing health care reform first.”

“I think we can’t give up on health care reform, either. We had a big setback. I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t make progress, but that’s not over, either,” Toomey said.

Toomey said that tax reform and deregulation are necessary to help business.

“The tax reform is going to be designed to help small businesses,” Toomey said.

As to deregulation of small businesses, Toomey said it was an ongoing process.

“We’ve had 14 bills where we’ve been able to use legislation to repeal ill-conceived regulations from the Obama-era, and the President has signed those into law.”

“There is another whole category of regulations the President has been able to roll back through executive orders. It’s an ongoing process because we are really wildly over-regulated.”

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