It’s not every day that a cutting-edge company like Braidy Industries chooses Kentucky, and let me tell you, we are excited about it. We supported the project from the beginning. It's good for Eastern Kentucky and the entire commonwealth, and we are confident in its future.
We all need Braidy to succeed and bring hope and opportunity back to our region. While we may be gearing up for football in the Bluegrass, thousands of family’s futures are depending on this significant and valuable investment that will bring back the types of jobs our people need and deserve.
For some time, the Appalachian region hasn’t been making the best economic news. But times are changing, and Braidy is a big part of the reason. A study conducted by renowned economics professor James Koch found that Braidy will generate $2.8 billion of economic value in Kentucky by 2021. He also found that Braidy will impact the four surrounding Ohio and West Virginia counties, adding more than 8,000 jobs to those counties.
Braidy Industries has received tremendous support from both Democrats and Republicans. Back in 2017, legislators from both chambers and across party lines came together and unanimously voted to invest in Braidy with the promise of restoring economic prosperity to Eastern Kentucky. We weren’t “D’s” and “R’s” during the Braidy vote; we were Kentuckians looking to do what’s right.
This isn’t just about Braidy. It’s about revitalizing Eastern Kentucky. We grew up here, we live here, and we believe in the region. We believe that Braidy can serve as a shining beacon, encouraging other companies to locate nearby. Braidy is bringing what this region desperately needs — jobs that allow our skilled workers to provide for their families. The mill will create more than 550 new manufacturing careers paying three times the average wage in the region.
We along with many others are cheering Braidy on to success. They are designing a plant with the lowest carbon footprint in their industry. This is real innovation, and innovation brings prosperity. It’s what both parties should be striving for in every state of our union.
We are enjoying watching the folks at Braidy embrace our Kentucky work ethic. They have already sold out the mill and landed a partnership with automotive manufacturing powerhouse BMW.
The benefits from Braidy are not on hold until construction is complete. Braidy is in our community taking on problems like the crippling drug epidemic. It is investing in the future of our workforce by funding scholarships and sponsoring Ashland Community and Technical College’s Advanced Integrated Technology program, helping local students learn critical technology and manufacturing skills.
Throughout our combined public service careers, we have learned that putting the future of individual Kentuckians first is what’s important. It’s in the best interest of our commonwealth to embrace this transformative opportunity. Braidy is an economic engine that can help turn the tide for the economy of Eastern Kentucky and make the commonwealth a global manufacturing hub. Braidy is invested in the future of Kentucky.
Rocky Adkins is the Kentucky House minority leader, Terri Clark and Kathy Hinkle are state representatives, and Robin Webb is a state senator. All are Democrats.
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