Photo Credit: Lee Becker
The economy in the country, the state of Georgia, and the region is very strong, 10th District Congressman Jody Hice and Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler told a gathering of Oconee County Republicans last week.
That strong economy is threatened, both speakers said, by the shortage of labor to fill the jobs the strong economy is producing.
The pair offered a variety of solutions to the problem, including training in schools, training on the job, hiring those getting out of correctional facilities, hiring people with disabilities, and helping people get off the safety net and into jobs.
Neither Hice nor Butler mentioned immigrants in their comments, but a member of the audience asked Butler specifically about the possible use of immigrant labor to meet workforce needs.
“I’ve always been a proponent” of immigration, Butler said. “The ones who want to come here and work, we should help them get here.”
Hice and Butler were part of an agenda focused on economic development for the regular meeting of the Oconee County Republican Party.
Even before Hice stopped his comments to take questions, Bill Mayberry of Watkinsville, who questions most of those who speak at Republican meetings, called out to Hice.
“When does the deficit spending stop?” Mayberry asked.
“All right, great question,” Hice said. “There are two groups in Washington who are addicted to spending money: Democrats and Republicans. I have to be honest with you. Our party has been just as guilty as the Democrats.”
Hice then turned his comments to the Green New Deal and first-term Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who has been an advocate of the legislation to address climate change and income inequality.
“That’s what we’re dealing with on that side of the aisle,” Hice said. “But a great question.”
“So when does it stop?” Mayberry called out again.
“It’s not going to stop as long as the Democrats are in control,” Hice said. “Hopefully, Republicans learned their lesson when they didn’t stop it. And I think that’s largely why we’re no longer in the majority.
“And so, we’ve got to take back the majority,” Hice said. “We’ve got to get leadership to be committed to do what we said we would do.”