On Monday February 6,2023 Allegheny Wood Products hosted members of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee at the Petersburg Dry Kiln Facility. West Virginia Congresswoman Carol Miller, AWP President John Crites II and Phyllis Cole – AWP Government Relations, were all instrumental in the committee choosing AWP Petersburg as the site for this first in a series of field hearings to be held across the United States. The focus of the hearing was “The State of the American Economy”. Twenty-five Congresswomen and Congressmen were in attendance at the hearing.
“Over the last few years, this committee’s work and that of Congress, has drifted from the needs of these good people. We must course correct. We must prioritize the voices in rooms like this one and not those of the Washington Political Class,” said Committee Chairman Jason Smith of Missouri.
West Virginia Congresswoman Carol Miller was on hand and is a member of the Committee. Congressman Alex Mooney was also on hand and although not a committee member, was invited to participate in the hearing.
Four representatives of various business large and small in West Virginia testified and took questions from Committee members about the difficulties their respective companies and employers have endured in the past two to three years since the pandemic started. Allegheny Wood Products Vice President of Operations Tom Plauger testified on behalf of AWP. Tom was joined by three other witnesses – Ashley Bachman owner and operator of Cheetah B’s Restaurant in Petersburg, Jamie Ward, Manager of the Itman Prep Plant in Wyoming County for Consol Energy, and Wiley McDade co-owner of Devil’s Due Distillery in Kearneysville West Virginia.
Mr. Plaugher and the other witnesses each gave a prepared five minute testimony and were then part of a question and answer period that lasted close to two hours.
Energy costs, worker shortages, supply chain issues, excess regulations, and overall increasing costs were all topics covered by Tom and the other witnesses. Throughout his testimony Tom praised the men and women who work at AWP and explained as best he could in the allotted time the challenges the company has both overcome in the past few years along with those he sees that lie ahead.
AWP Petersburg plant manager Frank Weese and his crew had the warehouse cleaned and polished, looking like a showroom for AWP lumber. Packs of AWP lumber complete with the company logo along with a polished AWP maintenance truck were the backdrop behind the committee. The hearing was live streamed and can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rij2pGhl1SA . The hearing starts at 1:18:28 into the video.
The Ways and Means Committee intends to conduct similar hearings across America in the weeks ahead to continue to hear directly from business operators and their struggles in the present economic situation.