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County Hall Corner: The Very Unique PA State Rep Jamie Flick

No matter how much a person may have studied or prepared for a new job or occupation, the cold water of reality hits almost immediately. Sooner than later, many ask themselves, “Dear God, what have I got myself into?”

In previous columns, I have noted my own awakening to serving in local government. For this past year, my eye was particularly on the new Pennsylvania State Representative for the 83rd District, Jamie L. Flick. His district covers the city of Williamsport as well as a wide swath of townships and boroughs in both Lycoming and Union counties. This is a lot to handle.

Yet, here was a man who was a business owner and who had no experience in government, suddenly engaging the wide, wild world of Pennsylvania state legislature as one of 203 members, each elected for two-year terms from single-member districts. What were Flick’s first twelve months in office like? How did he hold up?

First off, Jamie Flick was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth; he has had to work hard for everything he has achieved in his life. Born on a farm, he acquired a strong work ethic from his parents and also learned to hold his own — being the fourth of six boys in the family. He did not want to be milking cows all his life but was not sure what he could do. It was a teacher at Jersey Shore High School who recognized his potential and encouraged him to go to college, the first one in his family.

In 1981, Flick graduated from Williamsport Area Community College (later to become Penn Tech) with an associate degree in software engineering. Through the years, he kept refining his skills and eventually founded his own company, Susquehanna Software, Inc., which became the #1 selling human services software provider in Pennsylvania.

Along his road of life, Jamie Flick is also a father to six children and has also been very active in local volunteer organizations in the community, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, an advocate for foster children (CASA), the American Cancer Society, and a coach in South Williamsport for kids baseball, football, basketball, and soccer teams for the past twenty-five years.

A man with this much life experience would not be intimidated by the new challenges he would face as a new PA State Representative.

Still, he also had an extra benefit from the support he was given by a helpful mentor, Joe Hamm, PA State Representative for the 84th district. Hamm has been in office since November 2020, and even though they did not sit on the same committees, Flick gives high praise to Hamm for helping him navigate through the ins and outs of PA assembly practices and procedures. Flick certainly caught on; as in his freshman year, he co-sponsored 89 House General Bills, four House Joint Resolutions, and 31 House Simple Resolutions.

Flick’s experience in business and volunteer activities taught him some very valuable interpersonal skills. It shows in his announcement in June 2023 when he co-hosted a press conference to introduce the new Bipartisan “Meet Me in the Middle” Caucus. He was one of four members (two Republicans and two Democrats) who serve as co-chairs of the caucus. Flick stated that this new bipartisan caucus was designed to foster more cooperation between the parties, reduce polarization, and find paths to work together to pass commonsense legislation that benefits the people of Pennsylvania.

Jamie Flick is a different drummer for a politician, that is for sure. He does not take any campaign money from PACs or lobbyists. He was only one of the 203 Pennsylvania State Representatives who refused to take a salary during the six months that the Assembly did not meet due to a budget dispute. He is also probably the only PA State Rep in history who is a part-owner of a professional baseball team in Australia. (The Sydney Blue Sox, for those who are wondering).

But Flick’s uniqueness is his strength. He does not act like he is trying to impress anyone because, quite frankly, he does not need to. He just loves people and wants to help them. His work ethic, both in legislative sessions in Harrisburg and at events and activities in his district, clearly displays a man who has strong principles yet also deep empathy, especially for veterans. He might have come to the party a little late, but he also might be sticking around for a while.