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Heard on the Hill: Member Helps Put a Dent in Unemployment

Congress has been shouting “Where are the jobs?!” for ages, and now one lone Member has finally found them!

Or, well, he found one of them, which is still kind of great.

Two weeks ago, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) knocked on Phil Ritter’s door to ask whether there was anything he needed.

To his credit, Ritter didn’t send the Congressman out for milk or to fix a pothole in the street; he simply asked, “Can you find me a job?”

After the Allentown Morning Call reported the exchange, Ritter, 56, was finally offered a job three years after being laid off.

Dent says he regularly checks in with his constituents face-to-face, whether through town halls (he has held 16 this year) or a door-to-door tour of his district. He and his staff canvass neighborhoods, kind of like campaigns do. But instead of asking for votes, they ask for stuff to do.

“Basically, I was knocking on the door,” Dent tells HOH. “And [then] Phil and I started chatting.”

Ritter told the Congressman that he had worked in furniture manufacturing for a decade before being laid off in 2009, the Morning Call reported. Ritter said he had a tough time finding work because he was over 55.

According to Dent, the story ran and soon afterward, his office received a call from Abby Oberbeck, vice president at the National Magnetics Group in Allentown. “Can you please tell the individual to give me a call?” she asked.

The Congressman passed the message to Ritter, and the rest, as they say, is history. (Aww.)

For this, HOH crowns Dent as 2011’s Congressional Employment Yenta.

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