GALLIPOLIS FERRY — U.S. Congressman Evan Jenkins (R) made a trip to Mason County on Friday, starting his day at the ICL-IP Plant in Gallipolis Ferry and ending it at the Mason County Fair’s livestock sale.
Jenkins toured the ICL-IP plant along with Mason County Economic Development Director John Musgrave.
Jenkins said his visit included discussing the needs of those in the chemical and polymer industries. The congressman sits on the House Appropriations Committee, which determines funding levels for federal departments and agencies. Jenkins explained he hears funding requests from multiple agencies while in Washington and by understanding the needs of his constituents in the 3rd Congressional District, it makes him better prepared to connect those constituents with those resources in Washington.
“The county’s got a vision and we’re trying to make that connection and garner resources,” Jenkins said.
The congressman said at times he feels like a “middleman” when it comes to connecting those in the local community who have an idea and vision for a project, with finding funding support.
Jenkins described Mason County as being one of the most viable counties in the state when it comes to being ripe for economic development with river, rail, flat land, the completion of U.S. 35 now under way and reliable energy sources. He acknowledged the desirable sites in Mason County for development, but said his view wasn’t necessarily about one site over another, it was about partnering with the county commission and economic development authority to “help their vision come to fruition” and “go to bat” for those projects in Mason County.
Jenkins summed up the purpose of his visit Friday as supporting the efforts of the local economic development office, to meet with Musgrave and the other job creators in the county and, finally, to serve as as “conduit” to access funding and support needed to grow and retain jobs.
Musgrave said it was a benefit that Jenkins was on the House Appropriations Committee, particularly at a time when Mason County is waiting on any announcement of new industry and jobs.
“We need a shot in the arm,” Musgrave said.
Musgrave added there are economic development plans in the works for the county on a small to large scale. Some of these projects include additional jobs being added at PTI, Specialty Steel going in at the old West Virginia Cold Drawn facility, the success of Appalachian Railcar in Point Pleasant and development along Jackson Avenue — more on this local economic growth in upcoming editions of the Point Pleasant Register.
Also meeting with Jenkins on Friday was Mason County Commission President Tracy Doolittle.
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.