Washington, D.C.— No Labels, a national organization dedicated to a new politics of problem solving, has awarded its “Problem Solver Seal of Approval” to South Carolina Republican Tom Rice for his support of the group’s year-long effort to create a National Strategic Agenda, a roadmap for the country based on goals shared by both parties.

“In his first term in Congress, Representative Tom Rice has already shown a firm commitment to problem solving,” said Bill Galston, a Co-Founder of No Labels. “It is this kind of leadership, coupled with the creation of a National Strategic Agenda, that is going to help us solve some of the most challenging issues we’re facing as a country.”

No Labels is calling for America's leaders to support a new governing process to build a National Strategic Agenda centered on four goals. These goals – chosen with input from a nationwide survey that No Labels conducted last fall – are:

  • Create 25 million new jobs over the next 10 years;
  • Balance the federal budget by 2030;
  • Secure Medicare and Social Security for another 75 years; and
  • Make America energy secure by 2024.

The National Strategic Agenda, with specific policy proposals to address each of the four goals, will be developed over the course of the next year through working groups and meetings all over the country with elected officials and policy experts, business and community leaders, and citizens. No Labels will be developing the Agenda in partnership with Deloitte Consulting LLP, a worldwide leader in strategy consulting. Rep. Rice will be among those participating in the process. The comprehensive agenda will be unveiled in New Hampshire in October 2015.

More than 80 members of Congress have already endorsed the campaign for a National Strategic Agenda.


No Labels is a national movement of Democrats, Republicans and independents dedicated to a new politics of problem solving. With a network of hundreds of thousands of citizens and local leaders across America and almost 100 allies in the U.S. Congress, they have proposed reform ideas that have been introduced with support across the aisle, passed by Congress, and signed into law, including No Budget, No Pay. In 2014, No Labels called on America's leaders to commit to a new governing process to create a National Strategic Agenda, which will be developed with input from those all across the political spectrum. Find out more at www.nolabels.org.

Washington, D.C., October 14, 2014 – The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has awarded Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC-07) the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. The award is based on his votes in the 113th Congress on issues that are critical to manufacturing in the United States.

“Manufacturers in South Carolina and throughout the United States are making a comeback, creating jobs, making more products and making them better than ever before,” said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse. “However, manufacturers are often disproportionately impacted by decisions made by policymakers in Washington. The NAM is proud to stand with lawmakers like Rep. Rice who understand what is at stake and seek to implement policies that will foster innovation, growth and competitiveness.”

Key Votes included in the Voting Record are selected by small, medium and large manufacturing executives who serve on the NAM’s Key Vote Advisory Committee. Additional information on the NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence can be found here.


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.08 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for two-thirds of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org

Rice reiterated his talking points on increasing America’s competitiveness in the global economy as well as continuing to bring jobs to his Congressional district, which spans the Pee Dee and Grand Strand. Some major business leaders, however, voiced concern over filling jobs because of a lacking skilled labor force.

“My goal is to give skills to the people that are already here,’ Rice said. “We have a workforce that has suffered from industry from leaving our shores. Thank goodness we have facilities like the one we’re standing in right now, SiMT. Admittedly we have not kept up, but we’re ramping up.”

The French yacht builder Beneteau has called Marion its home away from home since 1986, when it located its first U.S. production facility outside of the country and in the Pee Dee, an area with the feel of rural France that was on the Eastern Seaboard, near an Interstate highway, between New York and Miami, executives said.

However, senior level supervisor Rick Pease said in a presentation that a skilled labor force is one of the company’s biggest challenges at the site.

“From a business point of view, we’re getting competition from the rest of the world,” Rice said. “How can we compete when we do not see the top applicants of the pool? It takes up to 40 conversations to make one hire. We don’t see the competitive edge with these applicants. They may be passing the requirements to graduate, but they are not prepared to enter the workplace.”

The luxury yacht company has churned out more than 8,000 yachts since opening and 250 boats in the past fiscal year at the Marion site where 167 full-time and temps are employed.

“Big boats being a true luxury item, we were hit very hard with this Great Recession,” Pease said. “So it takes a long time for our business to recover, yet we feel that we are on a continually improving track.”

Beneteau isn’t alone in finding quality talent in the area.

AVM Industries General Manager Mike Putinta looks out of state to attract talent and has difficulties even filling production jobs for the automotive manufacturer site in Marion. The company supplies automakers such as General Motors, Toyota and Honda with specialized gas springs. Putinta said future innovation and growth are dependent on a strong workforce to replace veteran employees.

“We got a definite need right now for skilled tradesmen,” Putinta said. “I have jobs that go unfilled, that pay very well, for months because I can’t find the people. I have an $85,000 controls engineer job that I can’t fill locally; sad to say I’ll have to recruit from up north.”

Rodney Berry, economic development director with Rice’s office, explained that the frank discussion from businesses was what he wanted the 100-plus crowd of the economic development community to hear.

“Our theme is how to be competitive and what makes us competitive,” Berry said. “But I asked these folks to be very candid on our downfalls. We’re not going to get a lot of fluff. I hope you folks take note and let’s work on those.”

Florence’s most recent corporate addition is Ruiz Foods, locating in the old Heinz facility, where up to 500 employees are expected to work within the next two years. Senior human resources manager Darryl Davids said the company won’t be in a full hiring frenzy until next year but plans to attract employees to the food manufacturing facility through high wages and strong benefits.

“You’re not going to get the kind of people that you desire to have and you want long term if (wages are) going to be down here,” Davids said. “You need to pay livable wages, and we certainly intend to do that. We’ve got a great benefits package, by the way. Having worked at GE, they compare.”

However Davids admits the site’s new general manager, who has a background with food giant ConAgra, will be coming from Houston.

BY GAVIN JACKSON Morning Newsgjackson@florencenews.com

Two Loris area morning meeting spots for coffee and conversation, Mount Vernon Grocery and Shorty’s Grill, got their share of both on Sept. 24.

District 7 Congressman Tom Rice, joined by his area field representative Thomas Keegan, was in the local hotspots for Rice’s “Coffee with Your Congressman” initiative. He was there to hear what the voters of his district want and need, and was met by a packed house at the Mount Vernon Grocery where he stayed for well over an hour beginning at 8 a.m.

The crowd touched on issues ranging from how to help small business to improving healthcare, especially for local veterans. Government spending, immigration reform and border controls were also discussed.

“I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, but Washington is just in a mess right now,” said Rice. ‘‘We just are suffering all around from what is simply a lack of leadership in the White House.”

Rice, a member of the budget committee, said the Senate will definitely not move on any bill regarding border control that will cost the taxpayers $100 billion, and do nothing to stem the tide of illegal immigrants into this country.

“That’s what they’re asking for and honestly we all know that’s it can be done for far less than that,” said Rice.

Rice heard from veterans, farmers, and families with disabled veterans and children asking how to get through the red tape to get the help they need.

During Rice’s second stop at Shorty’s Grill in downtown Loris, he took time to enjoy some breakfast. He sat with a large group of veterans, businessmen and pastors and listened intently, asking and answering questions during the meal.

The same theme of issues followed, and Rice shared a brief summary of the current Veteran’s Relief Bill that he instrumental in bringing to a vote.

“This bill will help all veterans struggling to get to or in the VA hospitals, and eliminate long waits and travel expenses,” said Rice. “The bill simply states that if you live 40 miles or more from your closest VA doctor or facility, you can go to a private clinic or doctor in your area.”

Rice also discussed the legislation of a Ports Bill to help bring focus back on American competition in the world wide market.

“We have done it to ourselves, sending American jobs and businesses out of this country,” Rice said. “The EPA and tax regulations along with certain laws make shipping out of our own ports more expensive than anywhere in the world because the environmentalists fight to keep us dredging our ports, like Charleston and George-town, so that the larger, more cost effective ships can come in to ship our products.

“Common sense is gone. No sound reasoning at all when it come to making America the leader in world trade she used to be.”

Rice went from table to table listening to questions or just wanted to meet the congressman.

By Lacy Hardee

For The Loris Scene

Some Grand Strand students were treated Wednesday to Rice Krispies treats, a visit from a U.S. Congressman and a short Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation.

About 200 eighth-graders packed into the Ocean Bay Middle School auditorium to hear Rep. Tom Rice speak Thursday as part of their “Careers and Leadership” speaker series. Rice was the inaugural speaker.

Rice kicked off the talk with a brief history lesson about how the founding fathers sacrificed everything — even their lives — for the right to a democracy.

“The most precious thing to them, the thing they were trying to protect, was freedom,” Rice said. “That’s what they were all fighting for.”

Fighting for those freedoms should still be on politicians’ minds, according to a few students.

“The most important part of government is protecting the people and the country,” said eighth-grader Elizabeth Gatley.

“And protecting the freedom of the people,” Ela Ender, a fellow classmate, added.

Rice spent part of his lecture reminding students of the founding fathers' intent to provide a better country for themselves and “their posterity” — as described in the Constitution — and students should appreciate the opportunities given to them. By setting up a democratic republic, rather than a kingdom, founders fostered an environment that promotes growth and competition.

“We’re the most wealthy country in the world, the most free country,” Rice said. “Me and you, we’re the beneficiaries of the founders' sacrifices.”

Jade Crooks, 13, took Rice’s words to heart.

“Since we live in the land of opportunities, then why not make an opportunity to get what you want,” Crooks said.

Most students could name all three branches of the U.S. government, though some were unclear about their purposes. Brooke Caboli, an eighth-grader, said she didn’t know everything about the federal government, but knew one of the most hotly debated issues: how to spend the federal budget.

“I think money is important to everybody,” Caboli said. “And the government is important, because it handles that stuff.”

Rice’s talk was part of the school’s “Careers and Leadership” series that aims to expose students to outstanding individuals who represent the finest in their areas of business, industry, professions, education, professional sports and performance. Rice said he hoped to give the students a better understanding of America’s history and how the founding fathers’ decisions affect students’ everyday lives.

“When you talk about what our founding fathers went through to give us the precious freedom that we enjoy and the prosperity that freedom gives us, we may understand the sacrifices that these people made,” Rice said.

He said he was impressed by what the students already knew about the government and how easily some could name the three branches of government.

“They were very knowledgeable,” Rice said. “If they can work hard and stay smart, in this land of opportunities, they can accomplish anything they want.”

Rice closed the lecture by describing how a skinny, tall Austrian wanted to become a bodybuilder, so he made his way to the U.S. and won two World Bodybuilding Championships. Then married a Kennedy. Then became governor of California.

In his best Arnold Schwarzenegger imitation, Rice encouraged the kids to “never let the naysayers get you down.”

Contact CLAIRE BYUN at 626-0377 or follow her on Twitter @Claire_TSN.


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