January 14, 2013

Kaine Kicks off Listening Tour with Economic Development Discussions in Southside

Richmond, VA – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine today held events in Southside Virginia, his first since being sworn in as a member of the U.S. Senate. Kaine made stops in Danville and Martinsville to highlight economic success stories in the region and discuss steps to promote additional growth and hiring by improving workforce training, increasing access to capital, and reducing regulations.

In Danville, Kaine toured Essel Propack, a specialty packaging company that's invested more than $10 million in its Danville facility since it opened in 2002. Essel Propack was recruited to Virginia during Kaine’s term as Lieutenant Governor. Since that time, it has expanded its manufacturing operations in Danville, creating more than 300 jobs. At the facility, Kaine spoke with employees about the company’s recent growth and expansion.

“It’s exciting to see a company like Essel Propack come to Virginia and become a true success story over the past decade, leading in a global industry and creating hundreds of  jobs in Danville,” Kaine told employees. “This is a great example of how Southside can lead the way in a 21st century economy and I look forward to supporting its growth as a U.S. Senator."

Following a tour of Essel Propack, Kaine visited the New College Institute in Martinsville to learn about the latest degree and workforce training programs that are pairing students with the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future in a global economy. As Lieutenant Governor and Governor, Kaine worked with the Virginia General Assembly and local leaders to make NCI a reality.

"Senator Kaine's steadfast commitment to the New College Institute as Lieutenant Governor and Governor was vital to getting this institution off the ground," said former State Senator William Wampler, Executive Director of the New College Institute. "I look forward to working with him in his new role to expand and improve programs at NCI that will train the next generation of Virginia's workers in growing areas like advanced manufacturing."

Kaine then traveled to RTI Metals, which specializes in the production and distribution of titanium products, where he joined members of the Martinsville/Henry Chamber of Commerce and other community members for a roundtable discussion on job growth. At the event, Kaine heard ideas from a diverse group of constituents on what can be done to coordinate efforts to boost employment and train workers in Southside.

“I was really pleased to hear Senator Kaine's first road trip would be to Southside Virginia," said Mayor of Martinsville Kim Adkins. "He reached out to the business community here because he knows that's what's going to turn this community around."

These stops will kick off a listening tour throughout Virginia that will allow Kaine to hear from community members, business leaders, and constituents across the Commonwealth on a variety of issues as he takes on his new role in the U.S. Senate.