Proud of manufacturing industry

Published 9:51 am Wednesday, March 11, 2015

by Randy Forbes

Right here in Virginia’s Fourth District, there are companies on the front lines positioning our nation to compete in an increasingly global society. Our manufacturing industry includes small innovation hubs with a big impact on economic growth, job creation and global competitiveness.

Take a look at some of the items made right here in Virginia’s Fourth District:

• World Cup cups. Chesapeake-based paper company Yupo Corp. was asked to provide the special synthetic paper used in souvenir cups provided to fans at the World Cup last year. Yupo provided enough paper to cover about 47 soccer fields, which was turned into thousands of cups decorated for individual matches.

• Hummus. Sabra Dipping Co. in Chesterfield produces 8,000 tons a month of hummus, a traditional Middle Eastern food spread made from chickpeas and tahini.

• K-Cups. The next time you pop a K-cup into the Keurig, you can thank your neighbors at Keurig Green Mountain in Virginia’s Fourth District. The Keurig Green Mountain Coffee Roasters plant in Isle of Wight produces 1 million single-serve cups of coffee a week in over 30 different brand names.

• Fluff pulp. Parents and care providers will appreciate the work at International Paper in Franklin. They produce fluff pulp, the material used in disposable diapers.

• Kevlar. In Chesterfield, DuPont Spruance manufactures new films, fibers and specialty chemicals, many of which are used by our first responders, police and firefighters. One material they produce is Kevlar, and it is, pound for pound, five times stronger than steel and resistant to chemicals, punctures, water and flame.

Those are just a few of the amazing products made in Virginia’s Fourth District every week. For each of those, there are a host of other manufacturing companies making products you and I use regularly, and many more making products that aid in national defense, medicine and other critical sectors. I am proud of the innovative work they do.

Our manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of our nation’s total economy, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Taken on its own, manufacturing in the United States would be the ninth largest economy in the world. It drives more research and development than any other sector in the United States.

Manufacturing spurs job creation and innovation in other industries through a multiplier effect. Every dollar the manufacturing industry spends to produce a product supports $1.34 back into our economy through other sectors.

In Virginia’s Fourth District alone, our manufacturing industry employs thousands of people in steady, good-paying jobs. And the manufacturing industry has maintained this success even in the midst of two very difficult economic recessions in the past decade.

One of my priorities in Congress is ensuring this industry isn’t hamstrung by heavy burdens from the federal government. We need to make sure our manufacturing facilities can remain competitive in a 21st-century global marketplace.

We can start by creating an environment in which our manufacturing base can put its dollars towards research and development, rather than tax compliance and unnecessary federal regulations.

We promote policies that allow manufacturers to obtain the capital they need to invest and grow. We create a network of public-private partnerships across the United States to design and test new technologies in manufacturing. We create opportunities for American students to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to meet the increasingly complex needs in our manufacturing industry.

Other nations look to our manufacturing industry for guidance. Manufacturing facilities buzz with energy and excitement about the products coming off of the line. Inside, there’s less talk and more action. They build. They look for ways to grow. They work hard.

The Fourth District is a leader in the manufacturing space, and in turn we’re fueling our national economy and setting us up for global competitiveness. We have a lot to be proud about.

Congressman RANDY FORBES represents Virginia’s Fourth District, which includes Suffolk, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Visit his website at