Days after his trip to Jamestown, U.S. Rep. Tom Reed is calling for the 23rd Congressional District to become a manufacturing hotbed.
Last week, Reed, R-Corning, held a meeting of the Manufacturing Advisory Board to hear directly from front-line manufacturers in the area and discuss current and future legislative initiatives. Monday, Reed spoke of the potential for a manufacturing renaissance in the area.
"I wanted to reach out to the people on the front line of the manufacturing sector, to hear from them how we can best position the 23rd Congressional District, to have that manufacturing renaissance right here in our own backyard," Reed said.
According to Reed, there are numerous opportunities throughout his district that must be seized.
"That's why I have positioned myself in Washington as chair of the natural gas caucus and the manufacturing caucus, a bipartisan group of members who are trying to spotlight and be a resource to lead the manufacturing rebirth and energy independence issue down in Washington," Reed said.
Meeting with manufacturers in the Jamestown area, Reed said, helped to bring issues forward. Additionally, Reed said everyone must work together to promote the area in order to bring in manufacturing opportunities.
Tapping into the natural gas and oil in the area is what Reed called "a real game-changer" on the manufacturing front as well.
"It represents this source of power that drives utility costs down, and allows them to be competitive on the world market," Reed said.
Reed said that although there are obstacles, he believes the 23rd Congressional District is positioning itself well to be a part of the manufacturing renaissance that he sees happening. Seeing first-hand what is happening with the Manufacturer's Association in regard to workforce development has inspired Reed to encourage the teaming up of manufacturers throughout the country in order to develop skillsets that are necessary in order to manage the manufacturing renaissance.
Additionally, he said the meeting provided ideas to develop ways to gain capital in the area, by encouraging new capital through investment. However, although he is looking for a renaissance, it is not without roadblocks. When the OBSERVER asked about how to bring manufacturing into a state considered by many to not be business-friendly, Reed said he conceded to the point.
"The policies and the reputation in New York, out of Albany in particular, are an obstacle that we have to overcome, and that's one of the obstacles we talked about," Reed said. "What we need to do is educate people as to what we do offer. What we do offer is a great stock of infrastructure when it comes to manufacturing facilities and resources."
Reed also said the area has the "the best workforce in all of America," especially with colleges such as Jamestown Community College helping to build a strong workforce.
"So, it is an obstacle, and I wish more in Albany would work harder to change that reputational effect," Reed said. "But, what we have to do, and what we can do, is make sure we are at least promoting what we do have, and the natural beauty on top of it, to bring people here."