Report from America: Beaumont, Texas

By January 19, 2007Report from America

Report from AmericaWednesday and Thursday found the blogger-in-chief in Beaumont, Texas for a few speeches and some related side trips. Beaumont is one of those places that is just so uniquely American. It’s all too easy to forget, having been in Washington, DC far too long that middle America is alive and well. They started every meeting with a prayer, the pledge (and even the Texas pledge!) and is just one great big small town. Hard hit by Hurricane Rita, they have bounded back with a vengeance. Thanks to some great leadership by a good Mayor, Guy Goodson, and a very supportive Chamber of Commerce and Regional Planning Commission, they have not only come back up off the mat after the hurricane but have attracted an astounding $10 billion of investment and expansions. Many a state would covet Beaumont’s record on this front. They did it by cooperating among various agencies and the private sector and by creating a climate for business. (California, are you listening….?) Big problem now is finding workers to handle all the work, a problem common to most manufacturers.

In any event, we promised them we would link to our slides and here they are. Thanks to Mayor Goodwin for his kind remarks and to Chamber President Jim Rich for his leadership and his hospitality. We even took a side trip to a CBI facility, a 70+-acre site that’s being rehabbed — right on the Neches River — and being turned into a fabrication plant from which stuff will be loaded on to ships and sent all over the world — from small but mighty Beaumont, Texas. Thanks to Sharon Dauterive of CBI for a grand tour of this facility that embodies the turnaround in Beaumont, and serves as a model for us all that when it comes to powering the economy, manufacturing leads the way.