Davis visits New Era

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, March 31, 2010

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) met briefly with several local dignitaries Wednesday afternoon before heading onto the production floor of the Demopolis building that currently houses the New Era Cap Company.

“They are part of our family,” Davis told a small collection of local leaders that included city councilmen, Ken Tucker and Demopolis mayor Mike Grayson, among others. “I think it is important for them to see the support they have.”

Once Davis took the wireless microphone from plant manage Alvin Williams, his message for the some 200 workers who will soon be seeking work was clear.

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“Every man and woman in the reach of my voice is a member of our family in Marengo County,” Davis said. “I want you to know that you have people who are working day in and day out to make sure you and your family are going to have a future working right here in the heart of Demopolis.”

Davis, who has thrown his hat into the ring of Alabama gubernatorial candidates, largely avoided political posturing during the address that lasted little more than 10 minutes. However, he did take the opportunity to relate his desire that more be done for domestic businesses that seek success in Alabama.

“I wish Washington, D.C., and Montgomery, Ala., could figure out a way to do as much for our companies as we do for foreign companies,” he said. “I wish we could do more for the New Era Cap Companies of the world. I want to underscore a commitment that we should do more to build a foundation around our hard-working men and women.”

But the impetus of Davis’ speech had little to do with politics or the economy. Instead, he focused his message on the individuals who stopped their machines and gathered around Davis, who stood in a clearing near the middle of the production room floor, just a few feet from the local leaders who have recently been saddled with the task of seeking a business to fill the Cedar Avenue plant that has housed New Era for the last 12 years and had provided a home to Vanity Fair for approximately 20 years prior.

For more, see the Weekend edition of the Times.