Sen. Tillis visits Pitt, Beaufort counties, touts farming, new utilities facility

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis braved the rain to visit Pitt and Beaufort counties on Thursday for two separate events.

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They say if you want to get a group of farmers together, do it when it rains. Thursday, there was a full house for Tillis at the Coastal Cotton Gin in Pantego.

Farmers gathered for a question-and-answer luncheon. They say the visit gave them the chance to express their top concerns and wanted to gain hope about what could happen in Washington, D.C. Tillis said he knows these farmers’ frustrations.

“The last thing farmers can experience now is not having enough workers, having regulations put on them that are not necessary and having taxes and other burdens that could literally put them out of the farming business, and once we lose a farm, it’s very seldom it’s going to come back,” Tillis said Thursday afternoon.

Tillis also answered questions from farmers about the need for migrant farmers and commodity prices. Kendall Paramore, a board member from Pitt County Farm Bureau, said he wanted this visit to motivate farmers.

“What we’re looking for from Senator Tillis is possibly some hope, because COVID-19 hit us pretty hard,” Paramore said. “… There is some optimism here today, and so we’re excited about that.”

Tillis also spoke on issues with national security, saying China should be a top concern for Congress. He went on to say that losing a farm is a food and national security issue. He plans on taking these concerns back to Washington.

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Tillis was also in Greenville on Thursday. He visited the new Greenville Utilities Commission operation center.

He was able to visit each of the four sectors in the building to get an idea on what process takes place when major weather events and outages happen. Tillis said these centers are vital in protecting Eastern North Carolina from severe weather.

“One of the things we have to do is go to areas that we know when we get a lot of rain or a lot of wind we are going to have a problem, so that’s remediation,” Tillis said. “How can you reduce the risk of floods and rivers that historically have not really risen to the levels that they have today?”

The new operation center was built after flooding and other disasters ruined the previous building.

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