Hi-Tech

Putnam plant is a W.Va. success story

Speaking of high-technology jobs — as we West Virginians do, frequently — how about the announcement from Toyota Motors? The company has announced it is expanding its plant in Putnam County. That will create 123 new jobs.

More than 20 years ago, when Toyota decided to build the Putnam County plant, officials expected the facility would employ about 300 people. But since then, counting the added 123 positions, the plant’s payroll has accelerated to nearly 2,000.

Toyota has discovered the stereotypes so many of our fellow Americans have about the Mountain State are wildly incorrect. The Putnam County facility has been one of the firm’s top performers in various aspects of production.

Vehicle manufacturing has become a high-technology enterprise, requiring the kind of skilled, dedicated, versatile workforce many companies seek. They can be found right here in West Virginia.

Luring more high-tech companies to our state is at the very top of economic development officials’ wish lists. We suggest that when they find prospects, they should offer them expense-paid visits to a place they may find very interesting: Putnam County, West Virginia.

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One wonders what good will come from inviting officials of the Council for American-Islamic Relations to visit the West Virginia Capitol. Still, the invitation has been extended and CAIR has accepted.

A few weeks ago, during the state Legislature’s regular annual session, West Virginia made national news because of a poster displayed in the Capitol. It was taken there by a woman with no connection to state government, nor to either the Republican or Democratic parties.

The poster created a substantial amount of outrage because it listed U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, with Islamic terrorists who carried out the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on America. Omar, a Somali-American, is a Muslim.

State officials made their anger regarding the poster clear. Still, it was used by some to chalk up a black mark against West Virginians. Correcting that may have been the idea behind lawmakers inviting CAIR to visit.

CAIR itself has links to the terrorist group Hamas, and has a record of enmity toward Israel. So perhaps better representatives of U.S. Muslims could have been chosen. Still, CAIR officials apparently are coming to Charleston. Let us welcome them with open arms so they can go home to dispel some stereotypes about us.

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