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Burr tours Cultural Wellness Center

JACKSON – United States Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) gave his stamp of approval for the Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Complex here.

On Thursday morning, Sen. Burr made at stop at complex during a three day tour of the eastern part of the state, which included a visit to Tarboro and a stop in Bertie County on Wednesday afternoon.

Burr was joined by United States Congressman G.K. Butterfield (D-1st), John Cooper, the North Carolina Director for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development and county officials for his tour of the center.

Also on the agenda was a ceremonial check presentation of $2.3 million to Northampton County. The $2.3 million is a reimbursement to the county’s fund balance for the project.

Burr noted though the check was just ceremonial; “it signifies money is on the way.”

During his speech to the crowd, Burr spoke about the importance of facilities like the Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Complex in rural America. He said one of the challenges in rural areas is infrastructure.

Burr noted how North Carolina has unique delegates who come together quickly on the issues that effect the state.

He also credited USDA Rural Development for their effort in the project.

“This is another example of the program not only in this county, but in the state,” he said.

Burr also mentioned the hope for a Regional First Responders Training facility and spoke of making the facility a reality.

“It’s truly an issue that affects the area,” he said.

Congressman Butterfield also addressed the crowd on the Northampton County Cultural and Wellness Center and USDA Rural Development’s role in the project.

“John Cooper, thank you for what you do in rural America,” he said.

Cooper, in turn, thanked Butterfield for his work in securing a special allocation for the project.

Cooper said Butterfield worked hard to make sure a $500,000 USDA Rural Development allocation originally set aside for Warren County, but ultimately never used, stayed in his congressional district.

In a later interview, Sen. Burr spoke about several issues, both local and national.

The Senator extended his thoughts on the center, saying it was a great addition to the county.

“I know it will cut dividends to the county’s healthcare costs,” he said.

When asked about his thoughts on the proposed Regional First Responders Training facility, he noted the regional need for the project.

“I think it’s safe to say USDA (Rural Development), G.K. Butterfield and Senator Burr are committed to this county,” he said.

He added the need for funding projects in counties was not anything new.

“The population increase is going to happen and that will only acerbate the problem,” he said referring to the need for the facility.

Burr also spoke about the North Carolina Center for Automotive Research (NCCAR), which is a project currently going on in the county.

“Again, I see it as a magnet for individuals, car companies and a potential magnet for manufacturers,” he said.

He also addressed NCCAR’s role in the nation’s energy crisis in regards to research into different fuel sources.

“Let’s face it, we need to get away from petroleum and gasoline,” he said.

Burr also addressed national issues, including the economic stimulus plan and the current battle for the Democratic Party nomination.

Burr said he did not agree with the economic stimulus package, which will pay each individual $600 in hope to boost the economy.

He said he would have proposed a 10-day tax-free holiday to encourage people to go out and buy.

“Instead of the individual, the reimbursement would have gone to local governments,” he said.

When asked about the current race for the Democratic ticket between Senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama, he said he loved it because it was exactly what American politics are about.

Burr also said North Carolina will play a part in the selection process.

“North Carolina will play an important role in the Democratic nomination for the first time in my life,” he said.

Burr continued by saying despite Americans’ dislike for politics, this election year would increase participation on Election Day.