Larry Kissell's week in Washington

Nov. 21, 2012 @ 05:17 PM

As Congress reconvenes this week, I hope we’ll have a chance to address some of the many pending issues at hand before the year ends. We need to preserve tax cuts to keep more money in folks’ pockets, and out of the hands of our government. We need to avert “sequestration” and any recklessly dangerous cuts to industries important to us here at home. And we need to ensure that our government does not move any closer towards trade deals with countries like Vietnam and Mexico that would only further hinder our economic growth. We need policies that promote “Made in America,” and especially “Made in North Carolina,” first and foremost.
 
When we make things here, we make an investment in the very best workers making many of the very best products. When we see companies relocating here or expanding here in our state, or even the growth in the strong presence of our military, it’s because of the caliber of people who live here. We’ve always been home to folks that will work hard and do a good job and ask for nothing more than an honest wage and an honest shot at the American Dream. In my opinion, this is the very best asset that any state or nation can offer. When we give those workers an opportunity, they’ll outperform and out produce anyone else. We’ve got all the ingredients that any industry can ask for; we just need a fair shot and an honest chance at success. Until we end deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and stop promoting unfair trade deals, we hinder those abilities of the very best workers our nation has to offer. Here at home, we can all make an effort to buy things made locally and we can help reward those who are playing by the rules and creating good American jobs.
 
As the holiday season continues, we can also take a moment to highlight all the bountiful items that are grown and processed here in our state. North Carolina has served as one of the top producing states in everything from turkeys and hogs, to sweet potatoes and Christmas trees. Our farmers and ranchers are some of the best in the world, and in no season is that more evident than right now. As you and your family prepare to gather for the holidays, make sure you’re buying fruits, vegetables and meats that are grown and raised in North Carolina, often right here in our district. They won’t disappoint.
 
The total number of jobs that all of these industries create or support is not limited to just our manufacturing or agricultural sectors. From local restaurants and stores to companies and local repairmen that help repair and maintain machinery for factories or farmers, so much more is at stake. It’s estimated that for every one manufacturing job that is created, that job directly supports more than four other jobs in a community. The value in making things goes far beyond what many see on the surface. Like so many in our part of the world, I spent much of my career in textiles. Knowing that the products made here at home help so many others is a wonderful feeling, and that “Made in North Carolina” tag could not be more important to me.
 
When our government fails to protect manufacturing jobs, whether through bad trade deals or unenforced penalties on cheating nations, we lose much more than just the jobs on the factory floor. Even indirectly, we’ve helped support our neighbors in other industries and areas across our state by doing business with them; buying the goods and services they sell. I talk to so many small businesses that are trying their hardest to get that one extra customer coming through their doors because every bit of business gets them that much closer to making ends meet each month. Folks in our area do a great job of buying locally, but I’d encourage you to urge your friends and neighbors and all who you come in contact with this holiday season to do more. Not every holiday gift has to come from a large retailer, mall or “super store.” There’s so much to offer right here in our communities that I know together we can help brighten the season for all of our small retailers and local businesses.
 
There’s always more to be done to ensure that we protect and promote the industries and businesses that call our state home, but there’s also so much we can do ourselves. By supporting our friends and neighbors—the small businesses and employers that grow and make things here—we help protect and create jobs. When government supports our industries and then gets out of the way and off their backs, we can foster opportunity and, with that, employment. I’ll continue to advocate for greater manufacturing opportunities and a smaller government, and we’ll continue to work together to put folks back to work.