Back

U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent Speaks at LVEDC Conversations and Cocktails Event

By Colin McEvoy on February 17, 2016

Despite his busy schedule in Washington D.C., U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent is regularly involved in economic development efforts in the Lehigh Valley, regularly contacting the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) with leads.

“Although you’re dealing with all these major national and international issues in Washington, you always take time to help with the development issues in your back yard,” said Don Cunningham, LVEDC President and CEO. “We’re fortunate to have somebody focused on pragmatic, realistic results in Washington. The term statesman comes to mind.”

More than 100 people came out to hear Dent, who represents Pennsylvania’s 15th district in the House of Representatives, at LVEDC’s first Conversations and Cocktails event of the year, held Tuesday at the Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown.

Dent spoke about everything from his initiatives in the House of Representatives, to local issues like his efforts to help open doors for prospects at the Kraft Heinz manufacturing plant in Upper Macungie, which announced in November that it was closing.

“We’re sorry to lose Kraft, but there’s opportunity here for us,” Dent said. “That’s good territory in Upper Macungie Township and we want to bring somebody in there who will be a real benefit to the Valley. The good news is Kraft Heinz is working with us closely on a transition plan for the community.”

Dent serves on the Committees of Appropriations and Ethics in the House, and said he is one of eight representatives who have been engaged with regular “tactical policy guidance” talks with Paul Ryan since he became Speaker of the House in October.

Regarding the year ahead, Dent said he will continue to push for systematic veteran affairs reform. His office has previously noted that of the 800,000 veterans who are waiting to be enrolled to receive health care through the VA, over 300,000 had died while waiting for their enrollment to be processed.

“Now is the time to once and for all integrate the veterans and civilian health system in this country,” Dent said. “It is long overdue. You would’ve never created a VA system like this in the year 2015 or 2016.”

Dent also said he will continue to battle the “scourge” of synthetic drugs, highly potent drugs like “flakka” and “molly” that are sold legally and many of which possess similar or greater narcotic effects than other illegal drugs like heroin or PCP.

Dent proposed legislation in September that would strengthen existing federal laws to facilitate the prosecution of synthetic drug manufacturers, distributors, and sellers. He stressed that he is not seeking to prosecutors users of the drug.

“That’s an issue we’re spending a great deal of time on,” he said.

The Conversations and Cocktails series is sponsored by Air Products. Dent was introduced by Robert Episcopo, Air Products’ manager of government relations, who praised the congressman’s support for manufacturing, noting his legislative record received the highest score from the National Association of Manufacturers.

“But Charlie means much more to all of us than merely his stance on manufacturing,” Episcopo said. “I’m not certain that we’re all aware of the breadth and scope of Charlie’s leadership in our country and in the world, quite frankly.”

The Conversations & Cocktails series allows LVEDC investors a unique opportunity to have targeted interaction with members of the Lehigh Valley’s legislative body in an intimate setting to discuss pressing economic issues.

For more information about upcoming LVEDC events, visit and bookmark lehighvalley.org/events.

International Toy Fair Attracts Lehigh Valley Companies Big and Small

The largest trade show in the Western hemisphere for toy industry professionals, retailers, and press representatives was held this weekend, and Lehigh Valley companies bo[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

Industry Spotlight

9.1% of Labor Force
Employed in Professional, Technical, Financial & Business Services
Q2 2017

By the Numbers
$39.1 Billion

Gross Domestic Product
2016

Investor Spotlight
City Center Lehigh Valley
Industry Spotlight

10.5% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing
Q2 2017

By the Numbers
$3.44 Billion

Exports
2015

Investor Spotlight
Air Products
By the Numbers
$59,989

Median Household Income

Investor Spotlight
PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
24,246

New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

Investor Spotlight
National Penn
By the Numbers
659,312

Population

Investor Spotlight
Olympus
By the Numbers
344,623

Labor Force

Investor Spotlight
Lutron Electronics
Industry Spotlight

33% of Labor Force
Employed in Health Care, Social Assistance & Education

By the Numbers
4,399

Technology Patents from 2000-2015

Investor Spotlight
Mack Trucks
Industry Spotlight

10.7% of Labor Force
Employed in Accomodation, Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation

Investor Spotlight
UGI
Investor Spotlight
NFI
Industry Spotlight

15% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA
2015-2016 academic year

By the Numbers
$6.9 Billion

Manufactuing Contribution to GDP
2016

Investor Spotlight
BB&T
Industry Spotlight

68th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

By the Numbers
$7.98 Billion

Finance, Insurance & Real Estate
Contribution to GDP
2016

Investor Spotlight
Seedcopa
Industry Spotlight

9,747 degrees awarded by colleges and universities
2014-2015 academic year

By the Numbers
$5.3 Billion

Professional & Business Services
Contribution to GDP
2016

Investor Spotlight
Fuling
Industry Spotlight

80,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
21.7%

Population between ages 18 and 34

Investor Spotlight
Workforce Board