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Beshear pledges support for industry - Applauds local manufacturing association

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By Nathan L. McBroom

Gov. Steve Beshear promised support for industries in Shelby County during his visit to the community Wednesday. Beshear, who spoke to a group of about seventy local business people at a luncheon at Claudia Sanders Dinner House, said there is no higher priority in his office than supporting Kentucky's industries and helping to create new jobs.

Currently, manufacturing employs close to 13.5 percent of Kentucky's workforce and makes up 18.7 percent of the states GNP. Because of these statistics, Beshear said encouraging new companies to move into the state and satisfying the needs of the companies that are here is very important.

"Creating jobs for our state is what its all about," he said.

While the state is actively trying to recruit new companies to move here, Beshear said encouraging existing companies to expand is a top priority.

"We can create a lot more jobs faster by working with existing companies," he said.

Kevin Derbin, vice president and general manager of Alcan Packaging, said Alcan's Shelbyville operation has expanded four times because of the favorable conditions in the state. His company has had several options for expanding across the U.S., but he said Shelby County's quality of workforce and location make it the ideal place to expand.

Beshear named Alcan as a local example of what he hopes will happen across the state.

The governor's visit to community came in conjunction with the announcement of a new local manufacturing association in the community. The creation of Shelby County Associated Industries will help promote local manufacturing businesses and give them a voice in public policy decisions.

Bobby Hudson, president and CEO of the Industrial Foundation, said the association will promote cooperation between members and will lobby for legislation that is beneficial to manufacturing, industrial and mercantile interests.

Hudson said he couldn't think of a better way to announce the start of the new group than to have the governor speak on the importance of industry.

The association of local industries was in existence in the community several years ago, but was dissolved. Hudson said the time is right for the association to be revived.

Beshear noted that he has seen such associations benefit communities across the state. Along with providing members networking opportunities, the association will also be a great place to share ideas, he said.

"By meeting with one another you learn how people with problems similar to yours are handling those problems," he said.

If any local industries are interested in being involved, please contact 502-633-7501.