Congresswoman Annie Kuster toured the North Country last week, meeting with local leaders and highlighting federal funds headed to New Hampshire projects.

On Wednesday, Aug. 18, she kicked off her three-day tour by meeting with local officials and business leaders at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery to hear about business and tourism during COVID-19. She then visited New Hampshire Detox — formerly known as the Friendship House — in Bethlehem to discuss addiction and substance abuse treatment, recovery and support programs.

“Our Granite State tourism and hospitality industry has done an incredible job adapting during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kuster in a press release. “In Congress, I was proud to help deliver much-needed support to our Granite State businesses and towns to ensure they had the resources needed to keep employees and customers safe while allowing people to enjoy all that New Hampshire has to offer. I look forward to bringing the perspectives shared today back to Washington to ensure no one is left behind as we recover and rebuild.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic created additional challenges for those who were already struggling with addiction, and the stress of the health and economic crises contributed to an increase in mental health issues for countless Americans,” Kuster added. “I appreciated the opportunity to hear from providers at New Hampshire Detox today, and I will continue working in Congress on the Energy and Commerce Committee and my Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force to expand access to care, bolster prevention efforts, and address the evolving substance abuse crisis.”

Later on Wednesday, Kuster met with White Mountains Community College (WMCC) President, Dr. Charles Lloyd, and staff to discuss the college’s growth, highlighting a recently-announced grant of $350,000 through the Northern Border Regional Commission [NBRC] for WMCC to help design a new Business and Industry Training Facility in Littleton.

“It was wonderful to be in Littleton this week at the WMCC’s new training facility to see the new federal grant money from the NBRC at work,” said Kuster in a press release. “As we recover and rebuild from COVID-19, it is critical we prioritize workforce development to ensure Granite State students have the skills they need to thrive, and New Hampshire businesses have highly-trained employees to hire. I have been proud to help secure and expand funding for workforce development over the years and will continue working to ensure our businesses have the talent they need.”

“The White Mountains Community College, our faculty, staff, and students are so appreciative of Congresswoman Kuster’s steadfast support for our Granite State community colleges, especially here in the North Country,” said Lloyd in the press release. “We look forward to working with her to meet New Hampshire’s workforce needs in the North Country and beyond.”

Rep. Kuster’s North Country tour continued on Thursday as she stopped in Lancaster to visit PAK Solutions — formerly known as PAK 2000 — and in Colebrook to tour American Performance Polymers, who aim to become the country’s biggest latex glove manufacturer, the Caledonian previously reported.

“Over several decades, the North Country has lost much of its manufacturing base — but thanks to companies like Pak Solutions and American Performance Polymers, we are starting to see a revival of manufacturing and workers with the skills needed for business and Granite Staters to flourish,” said Kuster in a press release. “As we ‘Build Back Better’ from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we must be intentional about supporting domestic manufacturing and American workers, and bringing the benefits of manufacturing back to our region to support our communities — that’s what I’m working on in Congress.”

On Friday in Errol, Kuster met with the Timber Owners Association to visit a working forest and have a conversation with leading timber landowners on the industry, management objectives, the market and climate change.

“Sustainable forestry operations like the one I visited today in Errol are not only a key piece of our rural economy in the Granite State, but also are critical in ensuring that we maintain and preserve working forests and save our planet by sequestering carbon,” said Kuster in a press release. “I’m pleased that Congress was able to secure $200 million for timber harvesters and haulers that experienced a drop in revenue last year, and I look forward to continuing to support our Granite State timber owners as a member of the House Agriculture Conservation and Forestry Subcommittee.”

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