Kentucky and the United States are in the midst of a strong economic expansion. A low unemployment rate, more people working and newly announced investments are providing opportunity and hope for our families.

However, many communities often struggle even during good economic times. This particularly is true for people in our often forgotten rural areas, including our very own Meade County. But thankfully, announcements of new jobs in our community have inspired a much-needed wave of hope and optimism about the future.

Nucor Corp. announced plans earlier this year to build a $1.35 billion steel mill in Branden­burg. Nucor is the largest steel producer in the United States and plans to build a 1.5 million-square-foot facility in the industrial park along the Ohio River. This project has the potential to be a game-changer for our community and region, creating 400 high-paying jobs in their facility.

As of the most recent numbers, the median household income in Meade County was slightly more than $58,000. With that in mind, it is critical to note the jobs being created by Nucor will pay an average annual wage of $72,000 plus benefits. These high-paying, skilled positions will provide a strong boost not only to those 400 families, but to our entire community and region. More money in our people’s pockets will help boost local businesses, further cementing what will become Nucor’s tremendous footprint on our community.

An economic impact report released by Barry J. Kornstein, an independent consulting economic researcher, in October describes just how big of an impact this plant is expected to have. The mill’s projected yearly economic impact in Kentucky adds up to 3,040 jobs and $189 million in total wages when you include both direct and indirect benefits.

Most of that growth would be concentrated in Meade County and surrounding areas, including Breckinridge, Bullitt, Har­din and Jefferson counties.

Nucor’s expansion into Brandenburg also will add revenue to our schools. In addition to supporting Meade County Schools through annual property taxes, Nucor will pay school tax of up to 3 percent on its electricity purchases.

As we all are aware, education is critical to economic development and it’s exciting to see the impact new jobs and industry can have on both job creation and education. Nucor’s plans also show the proper way to raise revenue and pay for education is to grow the economy and attract more businesses to Kentucky.

This is one of the biggest investments in Ken­tucky’s history and the fact Kentucky beat several states out for this project speaks volumes about the direction our economy is moving and Nucor’s trust in us for their future.

Now, we must focus on ensuring we have a quality workforce in place to fill jobs and meet demand. It will take a full team effort between the business community, our schools and our local and state officials to enable local residents to meet the new opportunities being provided.

There are many naysayers out there who doubt not only the possibilities provided by Nucor but the potential of other major economic development projects. But I choose a different approach. I am optimistic about exciting opportunities to be provided by Nucor for years to come. And even more importantly, I can sense the hope for a brighter future in our community.

I also acknowledge any change brings some bad along with the good. Yet I have faith in our community leaders and you, the public, to work through each of the challenges that will be presented to us in order to provide financial opportunities for our children and grandchildren that most of us had to travel out of the county to find.

Nancy Tate, R-Brandenburg, is state representative from the 27th District, which covers Meade County and a portion of northern Hardin County. She can be reached at tate4kydist27@reagan.com or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181.

(1) comment

Michael93v4

Optimism or more political lies. My question to the Conservative is about why Kentucky was chosen? Previously these companies have moved into small communities and ruined their economy when they left and shut down. The so-called economic adviser cherry-picked for this assessment has been wrong how many times? Blackwell was awash in the same kind of praise as this Conservative is shoveling. And yet what did this Conservative do to bring BlackJewell to justice? Any criticism for Governor Matt Bevin or his hand-picked staff? Not a word. Silence from all Conservatives in the State of Kentucky and the Federal Government. How many more BlackJewells are in Kentucky right now not paying taxes? The Nucor deal smells to high heaven. The job claim smells like a lie. Just like the Hardin County Hospital sale, this deal is too secret and too few on real facts versus political propaganda.

Most of these deals result in the state and community investing real dollars and incurring several lifetimes of debt to our descendants just to have the Company close down and take a tax loss and leave. Even after Donald Trump's "fake national emergency", to bail out the failing American steel and aluminum industry, the jobs in these industries are still bleeding out. Steel and Aluminum jobs in America are still declining, but what is worse is that America is bleeding jobs in the sectors depending on cheap steel and aluminum. Ten thousand Americans lost construction and factory jobs after Donald Trump's and the Conservatives enacted the tariff war on steel and aluminum. The Steel and Aluminum companies only added 800 steel and aluminum jobs. The rest were in tempory construction jobs to refurbish and modernize production facilities. Those temporary jobs are over and the 800 steel and aluminum jobs have been reduced to 400 because modernization means layoffs. Once the Nucor plant is operating how long before the workforce is downsized? Currently American Steel and Aluminum are experiencing lower demand and low product prices driving investors away from these companies. How long before Nucor closes down or needs another bailout. The big money investors can pull out at any time if it saves them money.

The Conservative who wrote this article speaks about optimism as if that should be a real part of business deals. That is the road to foolish town.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.
Terms of Use. The complete terms of use policy can be found at the bottom of this page.