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Shelby visits Butler County as part of statewide tour

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) visits with dignitaries and other community members before his tour of Coastal Forest Products in Georgiana Monday afternoon. | ADVOCATE STAFF / ANDREW GARNER

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) visits with dignitaries and other community members before his tour of Coastal Forest Products in Georgiana Monday afternoon. | ADVOCATE STAFF / ANDREW GARNER

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) paid a visit to Coastal Forest Products in Georgiana as a part of his statewide tour on Monday afternoon.

Shelby, along with dignitaries and officials from the different municipalities in Butler County, toured the manufacturing plant that produces plywood and timber.

“It’s good for me to do this,” Shelby said about his tour. “I just started. This is my second day. It’ll take me three to four months to cover the state.”

This visit was classified as an industry and jobs visit.

“Throughout my time in the United States Senate, I have made it a top priority to visit all 67 counties in Alabama every year,” he said.  “The focus of my statewide travel will be to hear from my constituents about the impact of the Obama Administration’s policies on middle class families, job creation, and economic growth.  I believe these visits are an excellent opportunity for us to discuss the important issues currently facing our state and nation.”

Earlier Monday afternoon, Shelby visited SABIC Innovative Plastics in Lowndes County.

Coastal Forest Products Vice President of Manufacturing Jim Pattillo guided Shelby on the tour through the guts of the wood-making products facility.

Last July, CFP built on 60,000 square feet of new space for its driers.

Shelby looked out over the new expansion from the control room and used that opportunity to ask questions about the company, which runs 24-7 and seven days a week.

The Senator wanted to know how many are employed at CFP, to which Pattillo said 327 are working in the mill.

Pattillo explained how the driers worked for the plywood and answered other questions the Senator had.

“I’m interested in the people of the United States and Alabama,” Shelby said. “I want you to do well.”

Greenville Mayor Dexter McLendon said CFP is a good representation of the “heart beat” of the county when it comes to economic development.

“It makes a big difference,” McLendon said about the economic development.

Shelby has to return to Washington, D.C. for work on the Senate next week as the 114th Congress continues.

“It was a great opportunity to show the Senator, as well as the rest of the community, what’s been accomplished here,” Pattillo said. “It’s taken a lot of people to put this together.”

Pattillo said a lot of work went into the expansion and the overall progress that’s been made.

“We appreciate the Senator coming down and seeing what’s been accomplished,” he said. “We take a lot of pride about what’s been accomplished.”

Pattillo said the wood company had to replace the original driers that were put in the mill in 1964.

“They were in sad shape,” he said. “They were inefficient driers.”

When CFP built the 60,000 square foot addition, a new drier and two rebuilt driers were installed.

Shelby’s visit to Butler County marks his 1,886th county visit of his career.