Congressman Charlie Dent To Locate District Office In Annville

Lebanon Daily News

Residents of Annville will soon have a congressional office in the neighborhood.

Congressman Charlie Dent said this week he will open a district office there in the coming weeks.

The office will be located on Main Street. However, Dent said, he wanted to withhold announcing the address until a lease is signed after renovations to the building are completed.

“We’ve identified a location in Annville on Main Street and are very excited about it, and hope to be in there soon,” Dent said, in a phone conversation.

The Annville office will have at least one full-time staffer, although office hours have not been determined, Dent said. An open house will be held when the office officially opens, he added.

Redistricting following the 2010 Census moved Dent’s 15th District into Lebanon County, necessitating opening a new office here and closing one in Montgomery County.

Dent’s district now also covers portions of Berks County, and he is negotiating for office space in Hamburg, he said.

The Allentown Republican said he has been searching for office space in Lebanon County since being re-elected in November.

“That’s what we’ve been doing in between the fiscal cliff debates,” he joked.

Because the district also now covers portions of Dauphin County, the search initially focused on the midway point of Palmyra.

However, an opportunity to open a satellite office in Hershey made Annville a better option, Dent said. The location of the Hershey office will also be announced at a later date when details are finalized, he said.

The possibility of sharing an office with Congressman Jim Gerlach, whose 6th District represents the remainder of Lebanon County, was also looked into, Dent said.

That turned out not to be possible because federal law requires that a district office be located in that district, Dent said.

“You are permitted to set up an office with a state legislator or in a municipal building, but not outside your district,” he said. “Obviously, for these purposes, we could easily have made it work, but it was not an option.”

Lebanon County is also new territory for Gerlach. However, the redistricting will not allow him to close any of his current offices, said his district director Kori Walter said.

With across-the-board federal funding cuts expected, the cost of operating another office may provide a challenge. But, Walter said, Gerlach is committed to having a presence in Lebanon County.

“We have a couple of places we are looking at, including one in the City of Lebanon, and we are hoping to finalize something in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

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