Ryan Bizzarro visits Edinboro

Category:  News
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 at 6:09 PM

Pennsylvania State Representative Ryan Bizzarro, an alumnus of Edinboro University, greeted a handful of local residents in his Edinboro Municipal Building office on Feb. 20. Providing cake and pouring coffee for guests, Bizzarro listened to the stories and concerns of his constituents. 

When asked about the Pennsylvanian gubernatorial election that will take place later this year, Bizzarro said, “Folks need to make an educated decision for themselves,” and stated that he “takes nothing for granted” after the presidential election of 2016.

Bizzarro’s offices — the two closest of which are in Millcreek and Edinboro — handle an assortment of state issues. Resolving tax concerns, mediating PennDOT-related issues and providing help accessing education funding are among their responsibilities to residents of the area. Consultations are free of charge, and the aid of state employees like Linda McCabe and Sean Calhoun aims to expedite the process. According to McCabe, students seeking help regarding the FAFSA or pursuing clearances for teaching and nursing positions can get help applying through the Bizzarro office, while then able to track the progress. 

The bulk of work done in this location varies by season, and Calhoun stated that now is crunch time for taxes. He and McCabe presented the reality that older Pennsylvanians haven’t switched to online taxes and therefore require a lot of help from the office; McCabe said the IRS’s bumpy transition into online filing has put them “ahead of their constituency.” Bizzarro’s office also has answers to questions regarding Pennsylvania’s revenue and budget.

An Edinboro student in attendance raised concerns about the opioid crisis, particularly about the spread of HIV via needle. There has been no flag in HIV infections in Erie County, but the student proposed taking preventative action — the example he gave was a needle exchange. The idea hadn’t ever been presented to Bizzarro, who was intrigued but did not pursue the topic of the needle exchange further. Sharing a story about a friend who died from an overdose in 2017, Bizzarro noted that “heroin is everywhere” and that opioid addiction is a burgeoning crisis. 

When asked about living in the political world, the Pennsylvania representative joked that life is “not luxurious in Harrisburg,” citing the fact that he sleeps on an air mattress when he is needed there. Bizzarro admitted he is mostly in the Millcreek office — the hub for meetings — when he comes to Erie County. 

Bizzarro’s Edinboro Office is suite 125 in the municipal building and is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Zeila Hobson can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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