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Clyburn visit

Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn, left, toured the Cox Wood Preserving facility in Orangeburg on Tuesday with Cox Industries President Mike Johnson

Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn says he will continue supporting the expansion of South Carolina’s ports to help the state’s businesses and farmers.

Speaking at Cox Wood Preserving, Clyburn noted the Charleston harbor was deepened about 15 years ago.

“We spent $160 million to do that,” he said. “People criticized us for spending that kind of money. But you know a lot of what you are doing here today ... is going out through the Charleston port and would not have happened if we did not deepen the harbor.”

The state is planning another deepening project for the larger ships that will arrive following the expansion of the Panama Canal.

Clyburn spoke to about 60 Cox employees during a visit and tour on Tuesday. The Orangeburg company ships about $10 million worth of product through the port each year.

The congressman said he is also working to have the Georgetown port deepened.

“I get a little bit concerned when the farmers in the Pee Dee are sending a record amount of soybeans out of the country to China but they are shipping them to the Wilmington port because the Georgetown port is not deep enough,” he said.

He also assured employees the economy is on the mend.

“I know that we are living in times of significant anxiety. We are coming through a period of time that most of us did not experience,” he said.

Clyburn said despite challenges, the U.S. economy is experiencing nothing like the difficulties of the Great Depression.

“The country came back from that,” he said. “We survived that and we are going to survive this.”

Cox Industries President Mike Johnson informed Clyburn that the company “had a record year.”

“I drew it up that we would have a good year but I did not quite think it was going to be the year we had,” Johnson said. “Maybe the economy is starting to get in line.”

Johnson said the company’s success is due to its employees and technological investments.

Clyburn said things are improving and will continue to improve after the Nov. 6 general election.

“I think it is going to a significant recovery,” he said. “The question is which side of the equation will the recovery take place on, the left side of the equation and the right side of the equation.”

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

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