U.S. Rep.-elect Scott Perry jokingly said he has no idea what kind of office furniture his predecessor, U.S. Rep. Todd Platts, is leaving him.

But if Perry, R-Dillsburg, needs new furnishings after he's sworn in Jan. 3, he said he knows where to look.

Perry on Tuesday toured Blockhouse Contract Furniture, a Manchester Township-based manufacturing plant that furnishes the behavioral health industries, the military, higher education facilities and other commercial entities.

Blockhouse owner and president Steve Perko invited the congressman-elect to tour the local plant, learn about the business and "help us get more people back to work," he said.

The company, which buys its parts and builds its products locally, has had to trim staff because of economic downturn, tough global competition and federal regulations, executives said.

Blockhouse once employed more than 100 local workers. During the last five years, that number has slimmed to about 65, said spokeswoman Jan Dawson.

Perko said he's hoping by building a relationship with Perry and Congress, the company can find new business opportunities and create more jobs. "The federal government is a big pot of money. A little crumb of that is an awful lot to us," he said.

What's at stake: Perry said the government needs to stop its "continual assault on successful Americans."

Tax policies and government regulations on businesses need to change, he said.

"We make decisions that affect lives ... of managers and workers. I'm going to make sure we do right by them," he said.

As the legislator representing the 4th Congressional District in Pennsylvania next year, Perry said it was important to begin visiting constituents before being sworn in.

"Time is short. It's a two-year term. I want to be prepared and know about everything I can, so I'm taking every opportunity to learn about our neighbors," he said.

What Perry learned about Blockhouse is that it's an environmentally friendly manufacturer in York County, buying local materials to supply a great product, he said.

"They're telling me this plant can do more. (Blockhouse) provides bread-and-butter jobs. These are family-sustaining jobs," said Perry, who also has business experience as founder of Hydrotech Mechanical Services Inc., a Dillsburg-based mechanical contracting firm.

When he goes to Washington, D.C., next month, he will rely on his own business experience and that of York County companies to guide his decisions as a lawmaker, he said.

"I'll think of places like this and whether or not our regulations will empower more success," Perry said. "It's why I've asked to be on the government oversight committee. The government is far too involved in business. I've lived it, and being here (at Blockhouse) reaffirmed it."

- Candy Woodall can also be reached at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.