Taking an opportunity to visit one of the important industries located near his district was what brought Mississippi”s U.S. Third District Rep. Gregg Harper to the Severstal-Columbus facility on Tuesday.
“Since I was sworn into office in January 2009, I have heard a lot of good things about this plant, and I have wanted to take a tour of it. Today, I am getting that chance,” the Republican congressman said in comments to media members before he joined company officials for the tour.
Harper, whose district includes Oktibbeha County, touted Severstal for its efforts to keep the local economy going in a positive direction.
“This facility has a tremendous impact on not just the local economy, but the national economy as well,” he said.
Harper, a native of Pearl, was elected to the post vacated by Chip Pickering, who chose not to run for re-election. He also spoke briefly on the recent passage of the health care plan touted by President Barack Obama. Of the state”s four U.S. congressmen and two U.S. senators, five out of the six voted against the plan, including himself, Harper said. Second District U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat, voted for the plan.
Harper said the plan is going to cause many small businesses as well as big industries to look into laying off personnel due to the high costs.
“They could”ve had a bipartisan bill, but the Senate chose not to. The Senate provided federal funding of abortion, which was why I voted no. This is a bad bill,” he said.
An executive order signed by Obama prohibits federal funding of abortion under the bill.
He added that 34 Democrats voted against the health care plan, which proves there is bipartisan opposition to it.
Harper said he plans to spend two weeks in his district, which includes Brookhaven and Natchez. He also has spent time at Prentiss High School in Jefferson Davis County speaking to students as well as Bassfield and Collins.
Once known as Severcorr, Severstal Columbus has been in operation since 2007, and is an electric furnace shop, which serves the needs of automobile assembly plants in the southeastern United States, as well as the needs of agriculture, and building and construction. It is located on Airport Road near the Golden Triangle Regional Airport.
Hot Mill Manager Dan Lambert said he is glad Harper took time to visit their facility.
“Our workers enjoyed meeting him and asking him questions, and I am sure he enjoyed talking with them,” he said.
Allen Baswell was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.