Senator Thom Tillis visited Pantego and addressed the Beaufort County farming community on Thursday.
Senator Tillis addressed infrastructure and commodity concerns at an event hosted by Farm Bureau. Producers from Edgecombe, Pitt, Martin, Beaufort, Washington, Hyde, Tyrrell and Dare counties have gathered at Coastal Carolina Gin in Pantego despite the threat of thunderstorms and extreme weather in the area.
Tillis served two terms in the United States Senate and previously served in the North Carolina House of Representatives as a State Representative. He served in the North Carolina household from 2006 to 2015, when he was elected Junior U.S. Senator for the State. Tillis also served as speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives from 2011 to 2015.
The event included a question and answer session with the Senator and those in attendance. Tillis spoke about the importance of supporting American farmers and the continued need for farm workers.
“The problem we have here is that people are not going back to work,” Tillis said. “When we refused to renew these unemployment benefits (under the Obama administration), we were at 10.4% unemployment. When we did that, we also cut unemployment benefits. Even after we got back below the national unemployment average, we didn’t have farm workers. The solution of others is that they think that if you double the wages and add benefits, all the problems will be solved. When do we have an industry that ceases to exist? “
Tillis also addressed international concerns related to China and the upcoming 2022 elections. He underscored the importance of bipartisanship when addressing issues with a focus on the current political implications of exporting local crops to China. stranger and focusing on support
“Every product that we grow in this country can be grown elsewhere and that would bankrupt us. If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we have a food supply chain that’s always at risk, ”Tillis said. “If we end up building a food chain that is largely dependent on farmers and fishermen outside of this country, farms would not export when their own countries are in trouble and our farms will disappear. ”