Alexander Tells Business Leaders in Vonore: “Monroe County is in the Middle of New Jobs Coming to East Tennessee”

Tells chamber members that JTEKT Automotive's expansion and Mastercraft’s "Best Plant" award are “good news not just for Monroe County, but for Tennessee”

Posted on August 26, 2016

VONORE, Tenn., August 26, 2016 –U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today told Monroe County business leaders that their success—with the expansion of JTEKT Automotive and the Mastercraft plant receiving Industry Week’s "Best Plant" award - is “good news not just for Monroe County, but for the whole state of Tennessee.”

“Tennessee has done about as well as any state dealing with all of the changes that have affected our country, and looking around the room, you can tell that people here have been very busy bringing new jobs to Monroe County,” Alexander said today at Monroe County Chamber of Commerce’s Industry and Appreciation Breakfast. “You have a growing automotive industry and new manufacturing all around you. You have access to reliable, low cost electricity provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority. You have Cleveland State Community College here building programs that will meet local industry and workforce needs. And most importantly, you have strong leadership from your local officials and your economic development team.”

Alexander told the business leaders that, as governor of Tennessee in the 1980's, he had traveled to Japan to try and get Nissan to build a new automotive plant in Tennessee. At the time, Nissan wasn’t making cars and trucks in the United States, and Tennessee had almost no auto jobs. “I took a photograph of the United States at night, taken at night from a satellite, to see Mr.Kawamata, the chairman of Nissan. I showed it to him. He said, 'Exactly where is Tennessee?' I said, 'Right in the middle of the lights, which is where you want to be if you’re building a plant with lots of heavy things that you want to ship around the country.'"

Today, Tennessee is home to Nissan, General Motors, Volkswagen and more than 900 automotive suppliers that have followed these automakers to Tennessee.  “Auto suppliers have been responsible for most of the job growth – they can be found in 80 of our 95 counties – and you can see it right here in Monroe County at JTEKT, Carlex and National Seating Company, and at Denso in nearby Athens and Maryville,” Alexander said.

“The auto industry has thrived in Tennessee partly because Tennessee is a right-to-work state,” Alexander said. “We take care of our infrastructure, and we do it without taking on debt. We also have hard-working citizens in our state, who go above and beyond what is asked of them.”

Alexander was the keynote speaker at the Monroe County Chamber of Commerce’s Industry and Appreciation Breakfast.        



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