MURRAY – US Sen. Rand Paul ended a two-day trip through western Kentucky with a visit to Murray’s TPG Plastics Wednesday afternoon.
Paul spent Tuesday visiting Morgantown, Madisonville, Princeton and Benton. Before finishing Wednesday in Murray, he stopped by Kevil, Bardwell, Clinton and Mayfield. After arriving at the Murray-West Industrial Park, TPG leaders and board members with the Murray-Calloway County Economic Development Corporation greeted him and took him for a tour of the plant.
TPG Vice President of Operations Brian Wingfield told Paul how the building was almost completely empty when the company started setting up operations in January of 2020, but they managed to move in all its equipment and start production by August of that year. Wingfield said TPG currently has 74 employees, and the most prominent product the company manufacturers are 1, 2 and 5-gallon gas cans. He said the company is now making cans with six-layer construction, which he said are more efficient, better-looking and safe for the environment. Wingfield also showed the senator the flame mitigation devices that are now included in the cans’ construction, drain pans and other products.
Paul asked about how ongoing global supply chain issues had affected the plant. Wingfield said TPG had not shut down any customers and has been one of the few manufacturers that has been able to avoid making any late shipments. However, he said lead times for receiving product components had increased from around one or two weeks to three to six months in some cases.
After finishing the tour with TPG personnel and the EDC, Paul said he enjoys visiting businesses and manufacturers of all kinds. While his trip to this end of the state elementally included updates on tornado recovery efforts while in Princeton and Mayfield, as well as the dedication of a newly built home for a tornado survivor in Benton, he said he still managed to stop at several businesses of various sizes.
“We love to see Kentucky success stories,” Paul said. “This is great for Murray, great for western Kentucky, and I think from a government perspective, we don’t create businesses but we try to create an environment where creative people and people who are willing to borrow money and take risks can make money and provide jobs, et cetera. I think our job is kind of to stay out of their way, make it a hospitable environment as far as regulations and taxes, and like I said, we’re excited to see success like this. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been to 40 cities in Kentucky and traveled 3,000 miles by car.”
Discussing business in Washington, Paul said he plans to continue his focus on reducing the national debt. To demonstrate his point of view, he compared federal government to state government.
“The contrast between the Kentucky state government and Washington is amazing,” Paul said. “In Kentucky, they have a rainy day fund, and they have somewhere between $2 billion and $3 billion in it that they didn’t spend. That sounds like a wise government. So we had a disaster in Eastern Kentucky and we had one in Western Kentucky. The state government had $200 million for Western Kentucky and $200 million for Eastern Kentucky. The federal government has minus $30 trillion in their rainy day fund.
“It’s night and day, the difference, and we need to treat the federal government more like your county government and your state government. I always ask the judge executive (in any given county), ‘How much money comes in a year?’ and they’ll say ‘$10 million.’ I said, ‘How much did you spend?’ ‘$10 million.’ Federal government brings in about $4 trillion and spends about $5 trillion every year. Except for during COVID – we brought in 4 and spent 7 or 8 each year, and we’re suffering through the inflation. Part of the supply chain problems are prices going up and people having to recalculate their input costs and their prices. And that’s why prices are going up throughout the country, because we’ve added so much debt. The Federal Reserve bought the debt and gave us all money, and all that money is circulating and it’s bidding up prices now.”
Speaking about the recent federal response to the Eastern Kentucky floods, as well as the ongoing response to last December’s Western Kentucky tornadoes, Paul said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is always slow after any disaster, leaving public officials anxiously awaiting reimbursements.
“We had a meeting over in Mayfield a few minutes ago, and they’re trying to coordinate the state funding and the FEMA funding and see if they can take one and then return the other if they ever get the other, but the federal government’s not making that easy,” Paul said. “So we did find at least a problem today we’re going to work on. Because there is money out there; it takes time. The whole courthouse has to come down in Mayfield and they’ve got to build a whole new one. It takes time to get the plans, you can’t get the money until you have the bids on the plans, and then it probably takes a year to build. Then we’re short of everything (with supply chain issues).”