Dr. Senator Rand Paul met with Century Aluminum employees, local industry leaders from Domtar Paper Mill, Commonwealth Rolled Products, Southwire and Hancock County’s leaders on Thursday. The primary purpose of Senator Paul’s visit was to meet with Century Aluminum and key leaders of Hancock County regarding issues facing the aluminum industries. Hancock County has an aluminum smelter, aluminum roller, wire producer and paper mill which accounts for over 3,000 jobs.
As most know, Century Aluminum is a US-based producer of primary aluminum. In addition to its plants in Kentucky, Century also has plants in South Carolina and Iceland. Hawesville and Sebree, Kentucky are two of only four aluminum-smelting plants in the U.S.
“We’ve been here before and have come back,” said Senator Paul. “I think we were here three or four years ago when things weren’t as good, so its always good to hear good news and it sounds like Century is doing very well; employing more people and executives; systems are going great.”
Senator Paul mentioned the committee discussion was around the competitive advantages and disadvantages nationally and internationally, and said it was mostly good news; “One of the things that I learned in there is that about half of Century’s input comes from military grade aluminum; the defense department buys it and I am a believer that we need to make that in our country without question, because we can’t be importing our defense materials from China.
Tax cuts in 2017 allowed for American manufacturing to return to the United States, creating more jobs across the nation and in Kentucky. “The products produced at Century Aluminum help maintain the United States’ competitive advantage with China and other countries producing the same type of products,” stated Senator Paul. “I think there’s a great deal of increasing mistrust of China right now. I’m sort of alarmed that all the evidence seems to be pointing to that virus (COVID) coming out of that lab now.” Paul also said the U.S. needs good domestic industries and the government was glad some of its here in Hancock County.
Century Aluminum is the largest producer of primary aluminum in the United States.
Senator Paul was joined in attendance by Johnny “Chic” Robert, Hancock Judge Executive, Chad Harpole, and Director of Governmental Affairs for Century Aluminum, Donnie Sanders, Southwire Operational Support Manager, Charles King, Hawesville Mayor, State Senator Matt Castlen, State Representative Josh Calloway, and State Representative Suzanne Miles.
By Linda Dillon