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Gwen Graham performs work day at rural North Florida textile plant

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U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham held another district “work day” today in Chipley, the seat of tiny — and heavily Republican — Washington County in the northwest part of her sprawling 2nd Congressional District.

The move is at once a continuation of her preeminent father Bob Graham‘s work days, in which the former Florida governor and senator worked hundreds of shifts across the state alongside mostly poor and middle-class workers, as well as a way of promoting the freshman’s new legislative effort in the House.

“Too many textile and manufacturing jobs have left our country to be shipped overseas,” Graham said in a written statement Thursday afternoon. “The Northwest Florida Jobs Certainty Act will save more than 250 good-paying manufacturing jobs right here in the Second Congressional District.”

“We need to do everything we can to level the playing field, protect these jobs and create more manufacturing work in North Florida,” Graham continued.

Graham spent the morning and early afternoon working at Chipley’s WestPoint Home, a firm her office called the last major home-textiles producer in the country.

Graham will need to continue her hallmark workhorse-style campaigning to remain in the good graces of her Panhandle constituents. The sphinxlike CD-2 has vexed politicians and strategists alike for decades, having been represented by three representatives in six years.

WestPoint VP of Manufacturing Steve Alford praised Graham following the visit.

“Working alongside our staff, Representative Graham learned firsthand how hard we’re working in Northwest Florida. Her enthusiasm and desire to learn about WestPoint Home created moments we’re never going to forget,” remarked Alford. “And we appreciate the hard work she’s doing fighting to save these Northwest Florida jobs.”

Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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