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Public Statements

This Week in Washington


Location: Washington, DC

Since the birth of our nation, invention and innovation have been at the center of our strength and prosperity. From our Founding Fathers forward, America was built on the combination of hard work and good ideas, putting people to work and moving our nation to greatness. From Thomas Jefferson's early work in agricultural advancements and inventions to Benjamin Franklin's innovation of the iron stove and discovery of electricity, the people credited with founding our "great experiment" in democracy sure had some experiments of their own, with results that still benefit us to this day.

These stories of success helped lay a foundation of innovation and ingenuity that is still alive today. As we work to outperform and out-produce nations like China or India, we do so through the successes of our people. Whether in business, public service, or the many hardworking families that call our district home--these are the true measures of our greatness.

Protecting our Ideas

As technologies advance, we can still rely on our long running American patent system, a promise made by those very same Founding Fathers that states that good ideas and hard work would remain safe, protected and credited to those who produce them. We're beginning to see more and more being done in the fields of technology both here and elsewhere in our country, and it's important we protect it and recognize the path that brought us here, in anticipation of the successes on our horizon.

I was proud to support the recent bipartisan Patent Reform bill that passed the House late last month, bringing significant fixes to our competitive patent system. This common sense legislation will help level the playing field with other nations, allowing America to better compete in the global marketplace--enhancing our economic growth and job creation.

New Frontier of Opportunities

Here in North Carolina where we are the home of "First in Flight," we have a special place in our heart for exploring the heavens. In what is perhaps one of the most crowning and advanced technological achievements of our nation, we saw past Presidents push beyond all limits and take us into outer space. From President Kennedy's decision some 50 years ago to send man to the moon, through our past 30 years of space exploration and working to help develop the International Space Station, we set real goals and achieved them.

As the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off for its final flight this week, it brought an end to 30 years of NASA's Space Shuttle program but not the innovation. Though we remember seeing the program through times of tragedy and sadness, there were countless successes and the work done was immeasurable. From advancements in new materials, to scientific and medical innovation, the work we completed there will now carry over more seamlessly into the private sector, helping to create jobs and find success for business owners and working families. When Atlantis touches down on its final return to Earth, it will safely land on a set of Michelin tires made right here in Norwood, the only plant in America tasked with the manufacture of these important shuttle tires.

The advancements of our space program have helped develop so many ideas and technologies that you would never think derived from space exploration. From the technology behind the artificial heart, to the vehicle insulation that protects our local NASCAR drivers--the NASA technology transfer has provided advancements in countless fields, including building supplies and the materials that make our modern day airplanes and keep our families safe.

I still remember to this day the amazement and wonder of watching Apollo 8 on a grainy black-and-white television with my family, the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon. I may not have fully understood it then, but this kind of ingenuity is precisely what makes our nation great. We defied many of our doubters--those who said our dream was too big--and even defied gravity to reach our goal. This same approach is what is needed today in every corner of our American economy, and an important way we do so is by ensuring that our small businesses are able to break free from the pushes and pulls of too much government regulation, and most importantly, unfair foreign trade and market practices.

Local Innovation

Here at home, we're seeing similar advancements in technology carry over into our local private sector, and with that business growth comes new jobs. Whether it's the newly announced 300 jobs coming to Anson County in biomass and green energy production, our rich aerospace industry that is growing rapidly in and around Union County, or the successes of Concord companies who work cooperatively like SBM Solar and electric-truck manufacturer Vision Motor Cars--this progress is helping our technology sector, creating jobs, and even helping to drive down energy prices and end our reliance on foreign oil. We are so lucky to be home to the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis which will play a crucial role in curing disease and improving human nutrition, not to mention bringing much needed jobs to our region.

Next week, Electronic Recyclers International in Badin will host their first job fair on July 16 to begin filling the 200 jobs they announced at the old Alcoa smelting plant just last month. Later this month, the doors will open at the new Celgard plant in Cabarrus, bringing even more advanced job opportunities to the people of our area. I'm so proud to have been a part of that project to help secure the important funding that is making their expansions possible.

I tell people from all over our nation that they need to come visit our district and meet the hard workers here. I come from a textile background and love to brag on the high performance textiles and apparel being produced throughout our region. In Hoke, Montgomery, Scotland and Richmond counties we see great things happening in this field that we need to expand upon. We come from generations of hard work in textile mills, on farms, and building small businesses and we can help those who bring industry here be successful.

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