With the recent news that Weyerhaeuser is closing down two of its mills in Columbia Falls, I have experienced many different emotions. How is this possible when the ink has yet to dry on the paper proclaiming that Plum Creek is now Weyerhaeuser?
Many conversations I hear at work, the coffee shop and grocery store reveal opinions as to who is to blame. You hear that it’s the federal government, the environmentalists, or the Canadians flooding our markets with cheap timber.
The fact of the matter is that it’s complicated. Numerous factors have contributed to these closures. The question to ask now is what do we do, or more importantly, what can each of us do?
As a community, we can come together to support our laid-off workers and their families. As individuals, we can have each other’s backs while keeping those affected in our thoughts and prayers.
As your representative, I can fight for policies that protect the timber jobs we have left and create an environment friendly to potential manufacturing possibilities. What I will not do is play the blame game or make promises that I can bring the timber industry back to its glory days.
I will also send a check back to Weyerhaeuser I received for my re-election campaign. I am doing this not because I blame Weyerhaeuser for everything, but because I stand in solidarity with the workers and those in fear of losing their jobs.
Let us continue to believe in our community and each other during these difficult times. We will get past this and the ties that bind will grow stronger as a result. As always, I welcome your input and ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org
—State Rep. Zac Perry, House District 3