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Senator Mitch McConnell stops in Allen Co. to discuss worker shortage, inflation

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 9:47 PM CDT
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ALLEN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) - In a roundtable meeting on Thursday, Senator Mitch McConnell sat down with Allen County officials to discuss the issues of inflation and worker shortages in the community.

“My family runs a restaurant here now in the county, and they’re struggling to find enough employees to open back up full time,” Allen County Judge-Executive Dennis Harper said. “A lot of small businesses are suffering the same problem.”

Larger operations in Allen County are also having a hard time finding employees. “I think Dollar General has 120 positions available right now. Sumitomo has 81, Smuckers has some positions available. Halton does also which is our largest employer,” Harper added.

Senator Mitch McConnell said people taking advantage of unemployment benefits are to blame for the shortage of workers. “A great many of Kentuckians and Americans look at the situation and find they’re better off financially to stay home whether than go back to work,” he said.

Inflation was another topical brought to the table on Thursday. Al Pedigo, a local farmer and member of Allen County’s Industrial Development Board, attended the meeting. He said he sees first-hand supply chain issues, which in turn has caused prices of materials to go up.

“Fuel prices have gone up...so when fuel goes up, fertilize goes up, my labor costs go up. All that happens in a short time here with this inflation that we’re starting to experience,” Pedigo explained.

Here in the next couple of weeks, Allen County is set to receive $4.9 million from the federal $1.9 trillion dollar relief package passed in March. How the money is spent will be decided amongst local leaders. Judge-Executive Dennis Harper hopes some goes to a new park being build that will include a sportsplex, walking trails, and a fishing pond.

“We’re really excited about it, whether we get to spend that money or not, we will continue to get that part going,” Harper said.

Harper and Pedigo both encouraged the public to go back to work if they are able to. “That’s what makes this place a great place to live, makes America go, and I know Allen county is full of hard-working people,” Harper said.

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