Rep. Long highlights production during tour
Posted on May 1, 2018 10:22 am CDT
By Kimberly Barker - The Joplin Globe
After visiting several state manufacturing plants this week, U.S. Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., highlighted the progress that American production has made over the past year and recognized the hardworking employees.
Long toured the Heritage Oak plant headquartered in Sarcoxie on Tuesday, as well as WinTech in Monett, ROi in Brookline and Elemoose Manufacturing in Springfield. The Sarcoxie plant, located at 137 State Highway 37, specializes in both red and white oak flooring products.
The congressman said during the tour that President Donald Trump’s tax plan passed last year has helped boost the economy.
“The economy seems to be improving constantly, especially over the last year,” Long said. “'17 was a very good year for the economy. See what the stock market’s done. Our tax cut and jobs act that we passed has been very instrumental in people investing new. We just came from WinTech and they’re putting in a new paint system for powdered paint that can be used on windows and things. A lot of the tax impact has had a very positive effect.”
While on tour, Long said that meeting employees was his favorite part of the experience. Companies such as Heritage Oak, he said, have grown in a few years and provide jobs for "dedicated people who wish to provide for their families."
“The things that I like about the manufacturing tours are the employees,” Long said. “You’re talking about hardworking people. ‘I’ve been here for 19 years.’ They’re real proud of their jobs, and in this particular instance where we are right now (Heritage Oak), they have been here for four years and already have 110 people hired. It’s pretty exciting to see all of this coming out of right here in the Ozarks.”
Zac Shepherd, Heritage Oak president, gave Long the company tour where employees worked in an assembly line fashion to produce the wood flooring. The business began operation in 2014 with about six employees. Shepherd said it’s grown rapidly ever since.
“My family started Mid-America Hardwoods in 1979, my dad and his brother,” Shepherd said. “We had employees who worked for us for 20-25 years, and we were very fortunate to get some very good people back. We were able to build a core fairly quickly and piece it together from there.”
Shepherd said that he voted for Long in the election and appreciated his visit to the plant.
“It’s always good to get the recognition for your employees and all the hard work they’ve put in over the last four years,” he said. “It says a lot about the people that we have working for us, our growth, and what we’re doing in Sarcoxie and Southwest Missouri.”
On Tuesday, the Trump administration postponed a decision on imposing tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico for 30 days. Trump slapped tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports in March, but excluded the European Union and five other countries.
When discussing tariffs, Long expressed strong opposition to the idea, but said it’s a feature of the president’s “negotiating tactic.”
“I’m against tariffs, always have been,” Long said. “Most free traders are against tariffs. The president is a unique character on how he negotiates. A lot of times, he’ll throw something out there, Tweet something out there, put something out there for the population, the world to consume and everyone will freak out. Sometimes, it’s part of the negotiating tactic.”
Long used the recent meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an example of what Trump can accomplish as president, a task he said that former presidents failed to do.