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Cabinet members tour plant, tout Bush

October 29, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - After shaking hands and talking briefly with a few employees at Guardian Fiberglass Thursday afternoon, Secretary of Commerce Don Evans and Secretary of Energy Spence Abraham lauded policies of President Bush that they said have helped local workers and their families.

Each of the men had a Bush/Cheney sticker attached to his lapel.

"He (John Kerry) wants bigger government. He wants to sign the back of your check," Evans said during a press conference held after the plant tour. "The president wants to sign the front of your check."

Both men said the president's economic policies have caused unemployment to be reduced, jobs to be created and have allowed more people to own homes.

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Six hundred of those homes a day can be insulated with products produced at the Guardian plant, Evans said.

Wearing blue hard hats, yellow ear plugs and safety glasses, the men toured the plant, where 340,000 pounds of fiberglass are made a day, Acting Plant Manager Mark Carl said.

Evans and Abraham saw the plant's packaging center and where the insulation is made from natural sand and recycled glass. In "the spinner room," round, flat pieces of metal spin 2,400 times per minute and the sand and glass is heated to 1,900 degrees. Insulation that resembles cotton candy comes out and then goes through another oven, where it is baked at 500 to 600 degrees before being formed into blocks of insulation suitable to be packaged, Carl said.

"It's going out the door as fast as we can make it," Carl said.

"It's because we have a good president. Isn't that the reason?" Evans asked in response.

Since being appointed to Bush's Cabinet in January 2001, Evans said he has been touring plants around the country because it's important to understand the challenges faced by today's workers. He said he also enjoys talking about the president's policies.

The Guardian plant, which opened in July 1997, now employs 150 and is expanding, Carl said.

When told that work at another local plant - the General Motors processing center - is being phased out, Evans said the economy is always changing.

Looking at the whole picture shows that West Virginia's economy is "strong and getting stronger," Evans said.

Evans and Abraham disregarded the notion that their visit reinforces the prospect that West Virginia could be one of the battleground states that decides the election.

Every state and every American is important, Evans said.

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