U.S. Senator Mike Braun made a visit to INTAT Precision Inc. in Rushville on Wednesday afternoon as part of his Summer of Solutions Tour.
“I’ve toured a lot of factories, not only campaigning and running, but especially when I’m on any recess break. I make a point to get out and see what’s happening,” Sen. Braun said. “This is like many operations, a testament to the fact that you do a great job for the community.”
Sen. Braun praised INTAT for providing good starting and career wages to its employees. He spoke of challenges related to maintaining and creating workforce development.
“That’s a challenge every state wants to have. That means you’ve got a good place to do business and that’s how wages rise over time where businesses compete for labor,” Sen. Braun said. “This is a great example of where it seems like it is working. For the county and town, they’re lucky to have a place like this.”
INTAT’s focus on the safety of its employees stood out to Sen. Braun and he commended the company for its efforts.
“Like many places, the emphasis on safety when you’re making something is important,” Sen. Braun said. “I’ve had my own business for 37 years before I became a U.S. Senator and three of my four kids run it now. That should be everyone’s emphasis.”
The senator said every town and county in the state is striving to do better to promote economic growth. He described some of the critical ways communities can develop their economies.
“It comes down to a few basic things,” Sen. Braun said. “First of all, you have to have entrepreneurs or businesses there, but that’s not going to be the only thing that attracts people to come live in your county or town. Increasingly, if you want to attract younger people, I think you have to have a sense of community in place.”
Sen. Braun’s home community of Jasper has been taking steps to add amenities like public parks and sidewalks, which increases quality of life for residents. The town of Jasper currently has the lowest unemployment in the state, according to Sen. Braun.
He said conveniences like these, along with a good school system, add up to attracting people back to the communities they were raised in. The senator believes these are the people who know what’s best for their hometowns and counties.
Sen. Braun said Indiana citizens have asked him a wide range of questions during his 50 City Summer of Solutions tour, which will stretch into September.
“Mostly people are interested in cost of healthcare, which is something I’ve led on in the senate to try to reduce it,” Sen. Braun said. “I did it in my own business many years ago and I think I’ve got that real world experience I can weigh in on it.”
People have frequently asked the senator about the recent increase in tariffs, which he believes have been over dramatized in a political way.
“It has impacted some businesses significantly that went aggressively with their supply chain to China and double down by wanting to sell a lot of stuff back in there,” Sen. Braun said. “That, thank goodness, is clearly being taken on to try to get the Chinese to behave like everybody else in the world does and get rid of the predatory practices that are going to hurt them in the long run.”
Sen. Braun acknowledges the agriculture economy hasn’t been in tougher times and the tariffs are salt in the wound when coupled with this year’s terrible planting season. However, he applauded Rush County for being one of the best producers of corn and soybeans in the state per acre.
“On my own home farm, for the first time since ’91, we couldn’t get the creek bottom planted. Agriculture, probably next to manufacturing, is the most important thing that drives this state. Bigger issues there, beyond tariffs, are a high cost of inputs and chronically low prices,” Sen. Braun said. “I think manufacturing is in a much better spot than agriculture. I’m working hard. I’m on the agriculture committee to try to highlight what needs to be done to improve the prospect for agriculture.”