Burns meets with Amazon official at national summit, gets tour invite

‘Man on a mission’ also learns how Trump program can bring Cambria jobs

EBENSBURG, Aug. 15 – Making inroads at the National Conference of State Legislatures’ annual summit, state Rep. Frank Burns got a firsthand look at Amazon’s distribution center process and an invite to tour one of the online retail giant’s Pennsylvania facilities.


Once again, Republican Speaker of the House Mike Turzai appointed Burns to serve on the national Communication, Financial Services and Interstate Commerce Committee in Nashville.


“I didn’t go to Tennessee to just whistle Dixie; I was a man on a mission to make contacts and learn all I could about helping Cambria County with job creation,” said Burns, D-Cambria.


Burns met with Amazon’s regional public policy manager Anya Malkov and discussed his letters to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, informing him of the availability of a Keystone Opportunity Zone in Cambria County and touting the area’s workforce and willingness to welcome investors.


“We also talked about how some Amazon distribution centers are located in small-sized cities like those in my district, as long as they are close to highways,” Burns said. “I view that as an extremely positive piece of information – and to all the people who say, ‘it’s never going to happen,’ – this is something for them to chew on.”


Burns said Malkov, who attended Dickinson College in Carlisle, offered to help arrange a tour of one of the company’s Pennsylvania facilities, an offer he intends to pursue in his courtship of Amazon.


Burns also attended a seminar on rural job creation that included a primer on the Federal Opportunity Zone program. Created by the Trump administration in 2017, Burns said the Federal Opportunity Zones promote investment in low-incoming areas by allowing federal capital gains taxes to be deferred, reduced or potentially eliminated, creating another powerful inducement for economic growth.


“If we can find a way to combine this with the KOZ tax breaks being provided by the state, which I helped acquire during this year’s budget negotiation, it puts Cambria County in an even better position to lure investment and jobs,” Burns said.