A number of elected officials made the most of the August recess, using some of their time away from Washington, D.C. to visit constituents at glass industry companies in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, respectively.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) visited Quanex in Cambridge, Ohio, last week, while Congressman Keith Rothfus (R-Penn.) stopped by Veka to address specific concerns from his constituents there.
Portman’s visit came at an opportune time, given that Quanex last year chose Cambridge as its central hub for its warm-edge spacer system production, which ships worldwide. Earlier this year, Portman and fellow senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) introduced the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness (ESIC) Act. The legislation, currently under consideration on the Senate floor, offers a deficit-neutral framework designed to promote the transition to a more energy efficient economy while driving economic growth and encouraging private sector job creation. This bipartisan bill uses a variety of low-cost tools to reduce barriers for private sector energy users and will drive adoption of off-the-shelf efficiency technologies among the largest energy consumers.
“Quanex is excited to host a U.S. Senator who is helping lead the push for energy efficiency at a national level,” says Ric Jackson, director of external affairs for Quanex Building Products. “His bill would be the first major piece of energy legislation taken up by the Senate in years, and Quanex is proud to support this initiative. In addition, Senator Portman has been supportive of Quanex’s federal priorities and concerns. Ohio’s energy economy, including those companies producing energy-efficient products like Quanex, have a champion in the Senator.”
The energy efficiency bill could come to the Senate floor for a vote in September.
“By making it easier for employers to use energy-efficient tools, we are helping them to reduce their costs, enabling them to put those savings toward expanding their companies and hiring new workers,” says Portman.
Rothfus, who sits on the House Financial Service Committee and Energy Action Team, has been busy visiting manufacturers, farms and schools within his western Pennsylvania district before making his way to Veka’s corporate headquarters to discuss a number of issues. At VEKA, the issues are no longer in dealing with a difficult economy, as the housing industry is turning around. Now the company is focusing on developing the future labor pool.
Rothfus completed his visit with a tour of the plant.
“It went really well,” says Steve Dillon, Veka’s marketing director. “It didn’t matter whether you were a Democrat or Republican. He spoke to a lot of different concerns.”
Veka welcomed additional political visitors the follow day when Republican state representative Jim Marshall appeared along with the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Caucus. The bi-partisan group is comprised of local, county and state officials seeking to better understand the issues facing manufacturers such as healthcare costs, taxes and labor pool supply.
Local education and vocational trades at the high school level garnered particular attention for the caucus.