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This Week’s LION: Commissioner and Candidate Tony Mussare

Tony Mussare has declared his candidacy for a third-term as Lycoming County Commissioner. He has the most seniority on the current board, and if truth be told, these past eight years have been a constant challenge for him. But then, challenge is something that Tony Mussare is used to.

When Tony graduated from South Williamsport High School in 1973, he was interested in one thing — becoming a businessman. Though he was an active student and participated in sports, he also had been delivering newspapers since the age of nine. After high school he made the wisest choice of his life by getting married to his sweetheart and companion Mary while they were both teenagers. There was not much time for romance, however, as he went to Williamsport Area Community College (WACC) to study business administration and at the same time work two part-time jobs to support himself and his young wife. He literally had to get by on three hours sleep a day.

This would be a pattern for Tony Mussare for many years. After WACC, he worked at UPS for eight years, learning valuable and practical lessons about how to get the most out of employee effort through a phenomenal work ethic and meticulous time management. He applied those lessons when in 1987, he found himself in the carpet business. It was long slough for the next few years as he had to teach himself everything about it. It started with carpet cleaning, which then led to carpet restoration (water damage, fire, etc.). To expand his business into carpet installation, he went to work for free for three months with a carpet company to learn this part of the trade. Out of all this effort came Rainbow Carpets — a full-service, customer-oriented, employee-valued company.

By 2005, he had some 25 employees working for him in his enterprises, yet he became troubled over the high taxes that were hindering him as a small businessman. He wrote an impassioned letter to Senator Rick Santorum outlining his concerns, and received back what he perceived as a very tepid response. A fire was ignited in the man. Like everything Tony had done in his life up to that point, he developed a plan to work his tail off and make something happen. He would spend the next ten years of his life giving up some of his active leisure activities such as billiards (which he is very, very good at, by the way) and involve himself in his community, with the goal of running for county commissioner in 2015.

Obviously, his timetable got moved up. Elected in November of 2011, and then reelected in November 2016, his two terms are strangely bookended. In his first term when he became a county commissioner, he was the rookie with two incumbents, and in his second term he was the incumbent serving with two rookies. This current board has wrestled with some contentious issues, such as the county visitor tax, the day reporting center, the golf course, etc., and Tony has found himself having to fight hard for his positions.

And work hard as well. Several times in the commissioner meetings, Mussare will have a pile of papers a foot high to illustrate the research he has gone through over an issue. He often refers to calls he takes in the middle of the night or visits to constituents to hear their concerns. No matter what one may say about his policies, no one can fault his commitment and work ethic.

Like all the commissioners, Tony Mussare has found a special passion, and that is seeing young people succeed. He has commented on several occasions that one of his greatest honors is participation in the Boy Scout Eagle Court of Honor awarding the Eagle Scout Award. He assisted in developing the county program of bringing South Williamsport students to shadow staff in various county offices, showing them possible opportunities for their future. And when student groups like Future Business Leaders Association or the Lycoming County Youth Development Task Force come in mass to a County Commissioners Meeting, they are treated like dignitaries.

Tony Mussare, a hard-working county commissioner who hopes to continue to serve the constituents of Lycoming County.

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