WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – U.S. Congressman Greg Murphy visited Washington on Thursday to listen to the concerns of citizens in the area.

Murphy started his tour at the Gregory Poole Equipment Company, a group that supplies construction equipment. Those at Gregory Poole said they face a workforce shortage.

“Not just in Eastern North Carolina, but America, people do not want to do this type of industry anymore, even though it’s very lucrative, but it takes a lot of training to get to be a qualified technician,” Gregory Poole Branch Service Manager Scott Potter said.

Murphy toured the facility with company officials.

“They’re, you know, the hub of Eastern North Carolina for all the things that are going on with mining, with forestry, some of the other industries we have out here East,” Murphy said.

Building a stronger Eastern North Carolina starts with a strong foundation, one that Gregory Poole helps to provide.

“If you ever look at a landfill, you notice most of the equipment is Caterpillar equipment, well someone has to service that. You can imagine everything that’s thrown in the trash is in that landfill, so we have people that have to go and crawl through that just to repair the machine,” Potter said.

U.S. Congressman Greg Murphy, right, and Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds (Sarah Gray Barr, WNCT photo)

These are concerns Murphy expected to hear.

“Concerns here I think will probably be about manpower, about how inflation has crushed so much of businesses,” Murphy said.

After the tour, Murphy moved closer to the heart of Washington and met with Beaufort County Sheriff Scott Hammonds.

“I like to meet with sheriffs and just see what the challenges that they’re facing, so much with crime, so much with drugs that are coming up,” Murphy said.

Like many, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office faces workforce shortages, Hammonds said.

“Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office experiences the same effects as national problem with recruiting and retaining,” said Hammonds.

But the sheriff’s office is also worried about the county jail and having enough space for inmates with different classifications.

“Classifications of separating the mental illness inmate from the medical inmate to a weekender inmate,” Hammonds said.

Hammonds added he hoped the tour of the sheriff’s office and county jail showed just how needed an expansion is.