Bruce Poliquin tours Dixfield mill to gauge operation's needs
DIXFIELD — U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, told officials and workers during his first tour of the Irving Forest Products mill Tuesday afternoon that he needs to understand their issues and how to help them.
"It's all about jobs and how do we help you guys with taxes, regulations, management costs, etc.?" Poliquin said.
"It's excellent to have him spend some time here and learn a little bit about what we do and some of the products we make," mill manager Alan Orcutt said. "A lot of people drive by every day on Route 2 here in Dixfield and do not know that there's 278 jobs right here. So for him to see that and understand a little more about our business, it's a big benefit to us because he can make better legislation that understands that we're here creating and maintaining jobs in Maine."
Jay Wheeler, procurement forester for the mill, said workers sawed 85 million board feet of lumber in 2015.
Poliquin said his constituents are his "customers."
"We have to deal with policy issues that affect their lives and their company, and it's really important that I understand how their operation works, where the bottlenecks are, where the problems are, and how we can help them."
He said government should be in business to help the economy grow "because we want more people working and less people on welfare."
He said his job it is getting government out of the way.
"Everyone needs to be fairly regulated," he said. "I would rather have fewer regulations that are predictable and make sense, and more investment and more jobs."
Irving Forest Products is based in Saint John, New Brunswick. The Dixfield mill, which manufactures kiln-dried pine lumber, includes a sawmill, two planer mills, three boilers, fuel storage and a maintenance garage.