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Wilson praises Orangeburg County’s ‘pro-business’ climate

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Wilson praises Orangeburg County’s ‘pro-business’ climate

U.S. Second District Congressman Joe Wilson arrived at Orangeburg’s Okonite Co. Wednesday afternoon, praising the company and the Orangeburg community for their support of industry.

“I want to congratulate all of you here,” Wilson told about 20 people gathered in the Okonite board room Wednesday during a stop on his sixth annual, five-day district bus tour. “I am thrilled about the success of Okonite and the expansion. I am amazed at how positive the Orangeburg community is. It is so true right here, the pro-business climate of Orangeburg County.”

Earlier this month, Okonite announced it added $18 million in new capital investment and 40 new jobs at the plant. On Wednesday, Sims Bark Company Inc., an Alabama-based landscape product manufacturer, announced it is investing $8.5 million in the Bowman area.

“Everywhere I look, there is a positive story and it reflects on the people,” Wilson said. He made particular note of Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College’s role training young people “so we can compete with anyone in the world.”

Prior to sharing a few comments, Wilson presented all in attendance, except his wife, Roxanne, with a brochure about how to contact him and the traditional key chain with the Congressional emblem and “With best wishes, Joe Wilson.”

Following the brief comments and introductions, Wilson took a tour of the Okonite facility. After his visit to Okonite, Wilson was to stop at Cox Wood Preserving Company.

“People come by and say, ‘Hey, come on and visit during the year.’ They really mean it, but they don’t think we will follow through, but they better be careful because we will make a note and put it in the file,” Wilson said.

Orangeburg County Councilwoman Janie Cooper welcomed Wilson to the county.

“We solicit your help as far as economic development in any way,” she said. “As you tour Okonite, you will be invited into one of the premium manufacturers of cables. It is a large plant. You better have on some walking shoes. It is really overwhelming.”

After the meeting, the Republican said he has not yet endorsed a candidate for president.

“I am actually very impressed with Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Gov. Mitt Romney, Congressman Duncan Hunter and I am an admirer of U.S. Sen. John McCain,” Wilson said. “I am also looking forward toward the candidacy of U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson, but I have not endorsed a candidate.”

Wilson said the key issues the next president will face are national security and defense.

“Protecting our country is the primary focus of our federal government and we learned from 9/11 that the continuing threat of terrorism is worldwide,” Wilson said. “It is really startling that the most loss of life in the last 96 hours was in Dhanbad, India. That is a chilling reminder that this is a worldwide threat.”