Charlie Wilson Promotes Local Industry During Tour

Made in the USA and made in the Ohio Valley – that was the theme of U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson’s Built in America Tour stops in the local area Thursday.

Wilson, D-Ohio, made a first stop at Ohio Coatings in Yorkville before making his way to the family-owned and operated Knight Manufacturing in Shadyside.

Wilson said he has been traveling throughout the 6th Congressional District, making stops at small businesses, including many manufacturers, to see the needs of business owners and figure out what can be done to help them grow.

“We feel that 60-80 percent of the jobs in this county are going to come from small businesses,” Wilson said. “We are doing legislation in Congress right now to make financing available through banks for small business, tax credits for businesses that want to invest in equipment, just like they are doing at Knight Manufacturing. They have not taken government money, but they are investing in new equipment. We are also working to see … that we get back to making things in America. That is one of the strong feeling I get from the Knight family here in Shadyside.”

Knight Manufacturing employs about 15 people, making and rebuilding equipment and parts used in coal mines. It also manufactures caskets and commercial-size garbage bins.

According to David Knight, owner of the business, when buying materials, the firm looks to domestic producers for things like steel to make the products customers need.

Wilson also said Congress is trying to make capital available for various small businesses or those wanting to start a small business and that he is trying to end trade agreements that are taking away American jobs.

“The other thing about it, small business is not going to get transferred off shore,” Wilson said. “They are here. They are families like the Knight family that are working here on a daily basis and have been for generations. We want to see them grow. We want to see them be able to hire more people. And this is why I am opposed to (the North American Free Trade Agreement). I am on a bill to repeal NAFTA. I think the sooner we get back to building things in America, the better off we are.”