Gluesenkamp Perez Tours Box Plant, Visits With Community Leaders and First Responders in Cowlitz and Lewis Counties

Jan 24, 2024
Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez visits WestRock in Longview, WA.

Yesterday, Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (WA-03) visited Cowlitz and Lewis Counties, where she met with local businesses, officials, and first responders about local priorities and her work in Congress.

“I had a great day in Cowlitz and Lewis Counties meeting with the folks who keep rural Southwest Washington running – whether it’s our local firefighters, paper mill employees, or community volunteers. A common refrain was that our government needs to be investing in rural communities and making life easier for small businesses – and I’m glad to say I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation to address both,” said Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez. “My work in Congress as an independent voice for Washington’s Third District is informed by the experiences of constituents across our district, so I truly appreciate everyone I had the chance to speak with today.”

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez began her day at the WestRock kraft pulp and paper mill and box plant in Longview. She toured the corrugated box plant and met with members and leadership of the Association of Western Pulp and Paperworkers (AWPPW) Local 153. The facility employs close to 1,000 people and produces about 3,600 tons of paper and corrugated products daily.

She spoke with employees about protecting the right to repair, as well as her bipartisan House-passed Treating Tribes and Counties as Good Neighbors Act to ensure Tribes and counties can fully share in the successes of Good Neighbor Authority (GNA) forest management projects.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez also introduced the bipartisan Jobs in the Woods Act to address forestry-related labor shortages and help prepare young people for jobs in the timber industry.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez speaks with the Longview Pioneer Lions in Longview, WA.

The Congresswoman then stopped by the Longview Pioneer Lions’ weekly meeting. She spoke to members about the importance of their work serving their community, as well as her work to support the right to repair, bring prestige back to the trades, and expand access to rural childcare. She also took questions, including about her bipartisan bill to reform the federal budget process.

Afterward, she visited The Villager Inn Retirement Center, an independent long-term and end-of-life care facility in Castle Rock. She spoke with the owners about ways to support the local veteran community and the challenges independent assisted living facilities face navigating government red tape and increasing consolidation.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez meets with Lewis County Fire District No. 5 in Napavine, WA.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez then visited Napavine, where she met with Mayor Shawn O’Neill, Chief of Police John Brockmueller, and other city officials to learn about their priorities and see how they’re navigating continued growth as a small, rural community.

They discussed local funding priorities, in addition to the Congresswoman’s bipartisan bill to make it easier for communities to apply for grants for vital improvement and legislation she cosponsored to help rural communities access COPS grants for public safety.

Rep. Gluesenkamp Perez wrapped up her day by meeting with Lewis County Fire District No. 5 about her work to support rural fire departments and their equipment and funding needs.

She spoke with them about her recently-introduced, bipartisan PARA-EMT Act which would strengthen rural EMS and address staffing shortages by making it easier for veterans to become certified EMTs and paramedics after returning home.

The Congresswoman has also advocated for grant programs to support fire department staffing and EMS needs as part of the FY24 appropriations process.

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