Keller lends ear to issues facing business | News, Sports, Jobs

Rep. Fred Keller, right, speaks with local businessmen about the struggles they’ve been facing recently.

COVID-19 has posed challenges for many businesses including the problem of finding people to hire.

It’s among the issues U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, has heard repeatedly in visits to companies across his 12th Congressional District.

Keller recently toured Ground Shaker Transport, Muncy, and Shop Vac, Williamsport.

It was at Ground Shaker where Keller heard some of the workplace issues faced by the trucking services company.

“I would say the concerns we are hearing today are those we are hearing from many people,” Keller told the Sun-Gazette.

Travis Kropp, who started the business in 2013, told the lawmaker he needs more drivers for operating his fleet of trucks and mechanics for keeping them in repair.

His company hauls various materials and equipment across the country and also performs vehicle repair work for customers.

Steve Neidig, operations manager, agreed the biggest struggle for the company is finding employees.

Many potential workers, he said, may hold expectations about the job that simply don’t exist.

Keller said many people choose to take jobs in states that he feels are more business-friendly than Pennsylvania.

More people than ever, he noted, are simply leaving the workplace.

Kropp said there is also the issue of people quitting jobs after working just a short time.

“Every worker is an essential worker,” Keller said. “You don’t want employees in a workplace that aren’t essential.”

Kropp said increasingly higher material costs cut into his operating expenses.

“Inflation is hurting,” he said.

“Everything is going up so fast,” Neidig added.

Keller said government is not the solution to the problems businesses face.

Rather, government too often is the problem.

“The government didn’t grow the world’s greatest economy,” he said.

Kropp asked Keller how the infrastructure bill might help companies such as his.

Keller said the legislation does more to add to the national debt than anything else.

He said Washington continues to have a spending problem.

Kropp said he has worked hard to grow his company and isn’t looking for handouts.

He strives, he said, to provide good-paying jobs for employees.

“Show me the rule and that the game I play,” he said.

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