JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Following the news that Noranda Aluminum had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, members of the bootheel legislative delegation pledged their support to finding policy solutions that would help keep one of the area’s largest job creators in business.
State Reps. Tila Hubrecht, Andrew McDaniel, Holly Rehder, and Don Rone said they are working with House Speaker Todd Richardson to explore every possible option to retain the hundreds of good-paying jobs the company provides.
“Losing Noranda, and the jobs it provides, would be disastrous for our area, and for our state’s economy. I am committed to doing everything I can to help, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to look at every avenue we can take to keep Noranda up and running here in Missouri,” said Hubrecht, R-Dexter. She added, “I am thankful that Speaker Richardson has pledged his support to working with us, and I am hopeful that we can develop a solution that will move quickly through the legislative process this session.”
“We will not rest until we find a solution that will preserve these jobs and protect the families they support. These are our neighbors, friends, and family who need our help, and I know we are ready and willing to do everything we can legislatively to lend a hand,” said Rone, R-Portageville.
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday morning. The company said the filing was necessary because of challenging market conditions and a catastrophic loss of electrical supply that forced the New Madrid smelter to close two of its three production lines. Noranda had already announced the layoff of several hundred employees in January, and the Southeast Missouri legislative delegation was already working to prevent further job loss. Now, the legislators will work together to assess potential actions the legislature could take to keep the job provider operational.
“Right now every option is on the table and in discussion as we work together to prevent what would be a devastating blow to the economy of the Bootheel, and our state,” said Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff. “I know Reps. Hubrecht, McDaniel, Rehder, and Rone have been working diligently for months now to keep Noranda operational here in Missouri, and they have my full support as they do everything possible to save these jobs that mean so much to so many families.”
“This is a company, and these are jobs, that the people of Southeast Missouri cannot afford to lose. We have been working diligently to find viable solutions to keep Noranda in business. This is a huge economic blow to our area and to the people who call the Bootheel home.” said Rehder, R-Sikeston.
Southeast Missouri legislators said they are working on a legislative solution that would help ease Noranda’s operating costs so that it can afford to stay in business. They also said they have been in contact with both the offices of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congressman Jason Smith to discuss other possible solutions.
“Plain and simple, the people of the Bootheel cannot afford to lose these jobs. Whatever the answer may be in regard to keeping Noranda in Missouri, we have to find it, and we have to do it sooner rather than later,” said McDaniel, R-Deering.
Hubrecht, McDaniel, Rehder, and Rone noted that Noranda, like many other manufacturing companies throughout the United States, has had to struggle with overly burdensome regulations and unfair trade laws passed by the federal government. The legislators also pointed out that manufacturing companies have had to contend with countries such as China continuing to dump inferior quality products at cheap prices into the market without interference from the federal government.
Rachael Herndon is the editor at The Missouri Times, and also produces This Week in Missouri Politics, publishes Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosts the #moleg podcast. She joined the Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.
To contact Rachael, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @TheRachDunn.