This Week in Washington


By:  Larry Kissell
Date: Sept. 7, 2012
Location: Unknown

This district work period has been amazing, having the opportunity to speak with so many manufacturers, small business owners and working families throughout our district. While a lot of attention has been focused on the two national political conventions, I've had the opportunity to do what I like to do best--listen to the concerns and ideas of the people I have the honor to represent. I've said before and I'll say again, the solutions we seek to our nation's problems must come from the people and be taken to Washington instead of coming from Washington and forced on the people.

Folks in our district instinctively know what people in Washington can't seem to be made to understand: That we will not rebuild our economy or recapture the prosperity that is at the heart of American power and global leadership if we do not rebuild our manufacturing sector and bring back the hundreds of thousands of middle class jobs that come with it. Bad trade deals, unenforced immigration laws, Wall Street's crookedness, and the moving targets that are the seemingly ever-changing and never-ending tax code and regulatory restrictions combine to depress wages, draw capital out of our markets, and create a climate of dwindling opportunity for American workers. These gross missteps combine to make it nearly impossible for business owners to plan for the future and expand their businesses. Everywhere I go in our part of the world, these facts are common knowledge and common sense. My time spent traveling across our district has reaffirmed my long-held belief that the solutions to our nation's difficulties will be found close to home.

One of my visits in recent weeks was with workers at Premiere Fibers in Anson County. The fabrics and threads made there are used in Valley Forge American flags. These flags are made entirely in the United States. These are the very flags that fly over the U.S. Capitol, that I've so often presented to schools and veterans' groups and retiring workers or military personnel. I didn't think it was possible to be any prouder of the Stars and Stripes, until I spent some time with the folks who help make them.

Recently, I told you about a company in Montgomery County that makes boots for our military. The lining of those boots, made specifically for the climates faced by our soldiers, is manufactured by Hornwood, Inc., also in Anson County. I have toured their facility before and recently visited with them again. Our fighting men and women require the highest quality apparel and equipment to carry out their mission. When I visit McRae Footwear and Hornwood, I know they are getting the gear they deserve.

But manufacturing in our district and throughout our state is not limited to textiles or other traditional industries. It has expanded to include many of the industries of the future, including health care and high tech materials. I visited SKY Pharmaceuticals in Concord, where they work to package and protect over-the-counter and prescription drugs in "blister-packs" that help ensure that the medication we take is authentic, labeled properly and safe.

I've met with workers at PPG Industries in Lexington, where they make fiberglass and materials used in wind energy production and so many of the high-tech construction industries we're seeing grow. We can make anything if we set an environment where companies can invest in workers and build their businesses. We don't need to allow politics to harm our economy any more. I'm continuing to lead the fight against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a huge trade deal modeled after NAFTA and CAFTA, that's sure to leave us at a further disadvantage to companies in China and Vietnam when it comes to access to global markets.

The biggest challenge faced by American industries is that government has placed them at a constant disadvantage in world markets. Our family businesses can't grow and expand and create jobs if government is too busy telling them what to do or how to do it, or banks are unwilling to lend or provide access to capital to these growing businesses. Government is supposed to work for the people, not against them.

I know we have a long road to recovery. The thing that encourages me most in the fight for economic prosperity is that all across our district, businesses small and large are fighting to stay alive and grow while continuing to make products that can compete with those from anywhere on the planet. Be it our nation's flags or military uniforms, or growing industries in the health sector or renewable energy, we make the best products on earth right here in North Carolina's 8th District. The talent and commitment and resourcefulness of workers and entrepreneurs in every imaginable field have us poised for a comeback.

After 27 years in textiles, I know there is dignity in work, and there is pride in making something and making it well. Every week, I see the ingenuity, hard work and business savvy of employees and business owners in our communities. And I know they have what it takes to lead us back to prosperity. Government should create an environment in which companies and workers can flourish, and then government should get out of the way.

I'm honored to represent you, and I'll continue to focus on the issues that bring us together, not the political rhetoric or partisan games that are used to divide us. We need to mend our broken economy, reduce the burdens on small businesses and working families and ensure that we do not allow the security and dignity of our seniors and veterans be used as political bargaining chips. The challenges facing our nation are too important to be played with, and are too important to be trusted to Washington insiders. I know that right here at home is where the true hope of our nation's return to greatness can be found.

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