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Congressman Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

Made in Missouri

I have always said that southern Missouri is home to some of the most dedicated and talented farmers, workers, and families anywhere. Our workforce has an undeniable strength and tenacity; employers are now recognizing this and finding out that our home is one of the best places to expand, invest, grow and hire. 

Briggs & Stratton first came to Poplar Bluff 30 years ago and they saw the high standard to which our workforce holds themselves. Recently, the company spent a great deal of time deciding between southern Missouri and Kentucky for their most recent expansion. After weighing all the options, they chose Poplar Bluff. 

The economic growth experienced under President Trump has been monumental. In fact, there have been more jobs available than people to fill them. But, in many cases, the people seeking the available jobs don’t have the proper training or experience. Access to a skilled workforce is always a major concern for businesses looking to grow and invest. The skills and dedication of the workforce in Southern Missouri were major factors for this expansion in Poplar Bluff. Briggs & Stratton wants to utilize our skilled workforce for the new expansion which will add 130 new, high-quality jobs to the area. This means more good pay and better benefits for hardworking families. 

This announcement hit a personal note for me. Years ago, my mother went to work for Briggs & Stratton at a plant in Rolla. She worked for better benefits for our family which provided us with better opportunities. This was more than just a job for my mom and our family. It makes me happy to know that other families in our area will now be afforded some of these same opportunities.

In addition to having a world class workforce, Missouri is a place where businesses can thrive – lower tax rates and less red tape empower employers to invest more in their business and not fund big government. This means businesses have more money to continue expansions of their operations, hire more employees, and invest in better benefits for their entire workforce. These quality jobs also are an important driver of economic development throughout the entire community. 

Recent developments in the region have included new infrastructure investments to help residents get to work and also ease the burden of transporting commodities and receiving goods and services in the area. A measure passed for moving forward plans to expand the I-67 corridor from two lanes, up to four, all the way to the Arkansas state line. The new expansion, built to meet interstate standards, will help drive additional investment in our local communities and help farmers and businesses gets goods to market faster and cheaper. With these continued investments, our community will continue to attract more high paying jobs. 

The news that Briggs & Stratton will be investing here is an important reminder about the economic capacity we harbor in this community. As employers and small businesses continue to look for hardworking and skilled employees to fuel their expansions, Southern Missouri’s workforce will continue to stand out. Our skill, tenacity, and earnest demeanor are the gold standard. Our thriving communities, business friendly environment, and infrastructure investments make Missouri one of the best places to grow a business and raise a family. It’s that unique combination that makes us uniquely qualified to continue to attract new jobs to our area, something that I will continue to fight for each and every day.