By Jesse Wood
April 4, 2012. On Wednesday morning, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan (D) stopped by downtown Boone businesses amidst her North Carolina Back to Work Jobs Tour. She visited Art of Oil, Appalachian Antique Mall, F.A.R.M. Café, Doe Ridge Pottery, the Mast General Store and others establishments during her one-hour excursion in downtown Boone.
The Appalachian Antique Mall was her second stop, and owners of the emporium were enthusiastic about her visit.
“I think it was great. We were very excited when President Obama came by, and we love having our congressional leaders come by. It’s terrific,” Jack Reeves, co-owner of the Appalachian Antique Mall said.
Reeves spoke to Hagan about high gas prices affecting tourism, which he said was a major concern along with rising costs of health care.
“In Boone, we get a lot of tourists up here. Rising gas prices don’t encourage people to get in their cars and drive great distances. That’s one issue we are dealing with,” Reeves said. “Also, I am retired, so I am very concerned with health care, and we are watching that very closely – just rising health care and prescription costs. Obama tried to put a dent in it, but it’s still bad.”
At her last destination, she bought the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and a stuffed animal accompanying the book.
When she walked into the Mast General Store, Kelly Britt noticed her right away, introducing himself to her. Britt, a Charlotte postal worker for nearly 3 decades, said that several issues concern him. With post offices shutting down and bleeding money, he said that budget of the U.S. Postal Service, and therefore his livelihood, is “on my mind.”
“Just overall, the economy is a concern of mine. Of course fuel prices, [too],” Britt said. “I have a large family, and I have to budget just like everyone else.”
After the tour, she spoke with members of the press about her tour, the economy, the Marriage Protection Amendment and the “infectious … community spirit” of the High Country.
On Monday, she announced that she is introducing a bill titled the Small Business Common Application Act, which she said would reduce redundancy and paper work for small businesses applying for federal assistance and would make it easier for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to be more efficient.
“Small business is the key to economic growth, and if you look at employment inNorth Carolina, over 98 percent of our employers are small business, and half of employment is through small businesses. It’s really a key component to our economic recovery,” she said.
“What this bill does is charges the SBA to pull together all different diverse agencies in government. And we say we need to want to do one common application. It’s not fair to small businesses who don’t have staff, grant writers to do all of this stuff and have paper work after paper work with often the same redundant questions.”
During her North Carolina Back to Work Jobs Tour, Hagan said the number one concern from constituents she has met on the road is jobs – “first and foremost,” especially considering the Tar Heel State was hit hard before the recession with diminishing jobs in the manufacturing, textile, furniture and tobacco sectors, she added.
When asked about the Marriage Protection Amendment, an issue that is heating up in the High Country, in North Carolina and abroad, she noted that this issue is creating “an aversion.”
“I think that this is not the way to go … we need to talk about jobs,” said Hagan, who added she sent out a press release recommending that people vote no for the amendment. “I don’t think we need to amend our constitution to take away anybody’s rights, and I think it would have a devastating impact on children in North Carolina that our already being raised by [same-sex] individuals.”
As to her visit to Boone, she said she can’t wait to come again.
“It’s a very nice change from D.C. From the Art of Oil to the antique store. I am very interesting in coming back to have a meal at the F.A.R.M. Café,” Hagan said. “I love the volunteer support of this community. I think the theatre has such great potential and once again witnessing the community spirit here in Boone. It’s infectious and you can feel it.”
From Earlier Post Previewing her Stop in Boone. Photo Gallery At Bottom!
U.S. Senator Kay R. Hagan (NC), will continue her North Carolina Back to Work Jobs Tour this morning before lunch with a small business walking tour in downtown Boone. Hagan’s tour will include stops at the following small businesses:
· Art of Oil
· Appalachian Antique Mall
· F.A.R.M. Café
· Doe Ridge Potter
· Mast General Store
Hagan will also host “Conversations with Kay” in Boone tomorrow. Constituents can meet with Hagan to talk about their concerns. Her constituent services staff will be on site to help people navigate issues with federal agencies, such as the VA, IRS or Social Security Administration. Hagan will continue to host the events in communities across the state to help North Carolinians who need assistance or want to discuss topics that concern them.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2012
WHAT: Hagan to host “Conversations with Kay” in Boone
WHEN: Wednesday, April 4; Hagan will meet with constituents from 9:30-10:30 a.m.; her Constituent Services staff will remain on site from 9-11 a.m. to assist those who need help navigating issues with federal agencies.
WHERE: Lois E. Harrill Senior Center, 182 Poplar Grove Connector, Boone
WHAT: Hagan to hold NC Back to Work Small Business Walking Tour in downtown Boone
WHEN: 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 4; a press avail will be held at 11:30 at the Mast General Store.
WHERE: The walking tour will begin at the Art of Oil located at 819 West King Street, and will finish at Mast General Store located at 630 West King Street.
Photos by Jesse Wood
Click on the first photo, then use the Arrow Key to flip through the gallery.
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