Friday, May 06, 2016
Billy Long: I will fight for manufacturers in the Ozarks
Each year, I make a point of visiting several of our area’s manufacturers so that I can stay current on the issues they face, and see the quality of products being created here in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District firsthand. For my 2016 manufacturing tour, I visited Digital Monitoring Products in Springfield, Architectural Systems Inc. in Monett, Holden Industries in Southwest City, and Grace Precision Products in Webb City.
The latest data from the Center for Manufacturing Research shows just how important the industry is in our community. Manufacturers in Missouri account for approximately 13 percent of total output in our state. Last year, there were more than 260,000 Missourians who supported themselves and their families working in manufacturing.
Manufacturing is undoubtedly huge in our state already, but it’s only getting bigger. The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s 2015 report showed that manufacturing was the largest growing industry subsector in our state – creating 5,000 new jobs from May, 2014 to May, 2015 – and grew at a faster rate than national manufacturer trends.
It is imperative at a national and local level that we embrace manufacturers and their hard working employees. My “Enforcing Orders and Reducing Customs Evasion (ENFORCE) Act,” which I have introduced many times and fought for since I came to Washington, passed into law earlier this Congress. This bill means American border agents will have the necessary tools to stop trading partners who violate US trade laws in order to illegally “dump” products into our country. For manufacturers, who share a part of the billions of dollars lost to these immoral business schemes yearly, this means that they can compete on a level playing field and give their employees job security.
Digital Monitoring Products (DMP) in Springfield was the first stop of my manufacturing tour this year, and also one of the 14 exporters in Missouri’s 7th Congressional District that have directly benefitted from the US Export-Import Bank. Last October, I joined a group of my House colleagues in signing a discharge petition to reauthorize this bank because, without it, companies like DMP in the Ozarks would be at a major disadvantage in the global market. Also, Missouri could’ve risked losing around $1.5 billion in export sales and thousands of jobs if the bank hadn’t been reauthorized.
During my visit to DMP, I couldn’t help but notice that despite being a 41 year old company, they’ve been able to stay on the cutting edge of their industry. Due to their success, they’ve begun a process to expand their facility by more than 70,000 square feet and will be doubling the size of their Engineering & Development department.
Manufacturing is not just a crucial part of life in the Ozarks; it is a part of America’s history. During my visit to Architectural Systems Inc. (ASI), for example, I learned that their work is in some of America’s iconic museums and landmarks. ASI’s wall fabrication systems, exterior and interior paneling, and engineering are all showcased at the National Museums of the American Indian and African American History and Culture on our National Mall in Washington. ASI is currently involved with constructing what will be iconic additions to New York City’s skyline: The Millennium Tower and Hudson Yards buildings. ASI will also be leaving their mark on San Francisco’s skyline upon completion of the Transbay Transit Center.
From ‘Main Street’ in smaller communities to major US cities, Americans rely heavily on the quality and efficiency of manufacturers here in the Ozarks. As your representative, one of my top priorities in Washington will always be to stand up for manufacturers and their role in growing our economy.