Q&A: Dan Meuser, the listener

Friday, December 7, 2018

WASHINGTON – Dan Meuser, a familiar name in HME circles, won his bid to represent Pennsylvania’s 9th congressional district in November, the next step in his commitment to “improving people’s lives,” he says.

In his past role as president of Pride USA, Meuser helped to get mobility equipment into the hands of people with disabilities and senior citizens. As a new congressman, he aims to address the frustration with the current “decision-making process and lack thereof” in Congress and government agencies to “make better opportunities for people,” he says.

Here’s what Meuser, 54, had to say about how listening is the key to accomplishing this.

HME News: You first ran to represent Pennsylvania’s 10th congressional district in 2008. Why do you think you lost that race?

Dan Meuser: One of the reasons was I hadn’t been really active in and wasn’t really known in many of the counties that made up that district. I hadn’t earned my stripes, so to speak, to be successful in a congressional campaign. I also thought my opponent in the primary—he and I didn’t differentiate ourselves in the eyes of voters. We were both conservatives and businesspeople and new to politics. But I will tell you this: My opponent went on and lost in the general election, and I’m not sure I would have done any better.

HME: After that loss, why did you stick with politics?

Meuser: I really had a desire to be in public service. During my campaign, I met then State Attorney General Tom Corbett and he strongly encouraged me to be part of his campaign for governor. I had no plans to be revenue secretary, but we saw eye to eye on a number of issues, and when he won, he offered me that position.

HME: How do you look back at the four years you were in that role?

Meuser: I feel like I was able to apply business practices to a government agency. I wanted to treat taxpayers like customers, yet also be the tax collector. We focused on efficiency. If you don’t waste money, you have more money to invest elsewhere. I let my staff know, if you make these efficiencies, we can buy new laptops for our field staff and invest more in IT. I believe in giving people the tools to do their jobs at a high level of excellence. It’s also the little things. (Scott Meuser, the CEO of Pride,) did these birthday breakfasts or lunches where he would meet with an employee who was having a birthday and talk with them. I did that as revenue secretary and you wouldn’t believe what a hit that was. We also got great ideas and people felt more part of the agency.

HME: How did you make the jump from revenue secretary to another campaign for the House?

Meuser: I began 2017 very much thinking I was going to run for lieutenant governor. But when Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., decided to run for Senate, he said he thought I should run for his seat. I know this person who’s 93 who says, “Always have a quarter in your pocket in case the bus comes by.” I was prepared.

HME: Many in the industry see you as a potentially strong ally for HME in Congress. How do you feel you’ll be able to help with industry initiatives?

Meuser: I’m going to be a strong ally for all U.S. job creators. I believe in government plans that truly help, rather than hinder, people. The government doesn’t create jobs; it creates an environment that allows the private sector to create jobs. I want regulations that make sense. All of these macros indirectly impact the HME industry and all other industries. Many of their issues are the same, including being mis-regulated. Too often, these regulators are unaware of the unintended consequences to their actions. They don’t listen. I’m not really better equipped than anyone else, except that I'm good at listening to people. You have to listen to understand.