PDT Staff Writer
First Ward Portsmouth City Councilman Kevin Johnson is in Washington D.C. to discuss the future of the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon and the proposed New Steel plant with legislative officials. On Monday he was also part of history, as he attended the inauguration of second-term President Barack Obama.
By mid-morning Monday, Johnson was making his way from the Capitol Building to the Washington Monument.
“We have been talking about how tight the security is,” Johnson said. “We’re in a holding pattern right now. Our place is really really near where the president will be, and we’re just waiting. Downtown Washington is just packed. Thousands and thousands and thousands of people; it’s just incredible.”
Johnson said, other than when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama came to Portsmouth, he had never seen him in person.
“What I’m looking forward to is listening to him in person, and watching the crowd, and just being here. It’s another check mark off of my bucket list to attend an inauguration,” Johnson said, as he began to move again.
Johnson had not lost track of his other reason for being in the nation’s capitol.
“Starting Wednesday, I have a number of staff meetings with Senator (Sherrod) Brown, Senator (Rob) Portman, Congressman (Brad) Wenstrup, Congressman Bill Johnson, Senator (Dianne) Feinstein, and Minority Leader (Nancy) Pelosi,” Johnson said. “I’ve got a bunch of meetings scheduled between Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the USEC ACP issues and the New Steel project.”
Johnson referred to the importance of the two projects to southern Ohio as “unimaginable.”
“Employment, construction jobs; the number of employees that will be coming into the area, especially if both take off, will be incredible,” Johnson said. “With USEC, it is interesting, the Paducah plant, which is the only other one that is producing what the United States needs, is schdeduled to start closing shop in May of this year. So it is really important that the Piketon plant get on line. That’s one of the things I’ll be discussing.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com