Despite Closures Across the State, One Senate Office Answers the Call

Despite Closures Across the State, One Senate Office Answers the Call

WEST CHESTER, PA — “And remember, even if your questions weren’t answered this evening, there’s always a number you can call,” State Senator Andy Dinniman said at the end of his May 21 telephone town hall. “Marie will always be there to take your call.” 

This line has marked the end of the past few telephone town halls hosted by Dinniman this month, and with reason: Marie Henry, his office’s administrator, is always ready to answer the constituent calls coming through.

After closures throughout the county and state, Dinniman asked if any members of his office would be able to continue taking calls. Marie was quick to volunteer.

“Marie receives anywhere from 50 to 100 calls per day, ranging from questions on unemployment and voting, to concerns about small businesses,” Dinniman said. “She is a true asset to our county and state, and I am so thankful she’s working for our constituents.”

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The gratitude isn’t just from Dinniman, either.

One caller on the May 21 town hall stated that the Office of State Senator Andy Dinniman was the only place where “I don’t have to talk to a robot.”

When this all started, Marie volunteered to attend to the phones in the office almost single-handedly, and has been doing so since mid-March. Over the past two months, she surmises that she’s taken thousands of calls.

“The first thing I hear when answering the call is relief,” Marie said in a telephone interview. “They’ll usually say something like, ‘oh, it’s a live person!’ If they leave a voicemail, I will call them back. It’s always a mix of a surprise and relief.”

On a given day, Marie will tackle questions ranging from unemployment compensation, to small business waivers, to timelines for reopening the county and state. More than the state assistance, however, she provides an ear.

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“Sometimes, people just need a live person to talk through these issues. That’s part of the reason why I’m still taking calls – not just to help them, but to hear them.”

She urged anyone facing these issues, or other state-related issues, to call the office at 610-692-2112.

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