Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan toured Golden Grain Energy in Mason City, Iowa on Tuesday. He made a point to learn more about people that work at the facility and their living and working conditions, as well as how the plant fit into the global economy.
“The supply chain is what I’m interest in,” Ryan said. “Everyone helps supply along the way, gets jobs along the way, everyone makes money along the way and we lift each other up.”
The tour opened with a quick presentation from facility staff, giving background on their company and its development. Ryan asked questions about value added to the local area, how many jobs the plant had created and what pay was like across the spectrum.
“We’ve gotta get the economy going in rural America again. It’s a lot like the areas I come from; a lot of small towns, midsize towns, that really have been left behind. Downtown gets eroded, you lose the manufacturing base, maybe opioids are a problem,” Ryan explained. “We are forgotten, and we have been for a long time, and when I’m president, we won’t be forgotten anymore.”
Ryan also asked what the biggest obstacle or annoyance for the facility was, in terms of regulatory bodies or added oversight building up costs. Their answer was the EPA.
With regulations, small refiner waivers, the Renewable Fuel Standard and other factors covered in the discussion, Ryan said his goal to rebuild relationships in the agriculture economy and see places like Golden Grain flourish for the health of their community.
“We’ve watched these supply chains unravel and we gotta get ‘em back,” Ryan said. “We don’t realize how much one plant matters.”
Ryan ended his time at the facility talking about his vision for the presidency and what he hopes to accomplish in office. He emphasized that he wants to be a blue-collar candidate that helps workers everywhere rebuild the economy to work for everyone; part of that is identifying what isn’t working.
“How do we deal with the anxiety people are going through?” Ryan asked. “These systems that were established to lift people up are the very systems that are pushing people down. Whether you’re talking about the economic system, the criminal justice system, or any of these issues around agriculture now, what’s happening in rural America – many farmers haven’t made a profit in five years. We need a president that reforms these systems and helps lift us up again.”
by Josh Cook