#SteelBriefs Profile - Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR 1st District)

Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR 1st District)

The American steel industry employs nearly 140,000 workers, supports about a million jobs in the larger economy and is vital to nearly every aspect of modern life. #Steelbriefs highlights the opinions of steel advocates in Congress on key issues critical to the steel industry by profiling members of Congress who have worked to curtail the unfair foreign trade practices that have impacted the industry, and championed other issues critical to steel like transportation, infrastructure and energy. You can follow #SteelBriefs on the American Iron and Steel Institute Twitter (@AISISteel) and Facebook channels, as well as here on steel.org.




How does the steel industry benefit your district?
There is an immense amount of steel production in the 1st District- it’s the second largest steel producing congressional district in the nation. We have 6 large mills which create hundreds of steady, good paying jobs. The snowball effect on local economies is massive: all those workers need lodging, food, healthcare, and entertainment, so the presence of the steel mills has revitalized many rural communities in my district.

Why does a successful steel industry benefit the nation?
Even in the information age steel remains one of the most important resources any country has. The economy is dependent on steel for infrastructure and construction. It would be impossible to have roads, buildings, and even some consumer goods without ample access to quality steel. But more importantly, a stable domestic steel industry is a matter of national security. Tanks, warships, and munitions are all made of steel. In a time of war, importing steel wouldn’t be an option and would lead to our forces being underequipped and vulnerable.

Why is it important to address unfair trade, especially with regard to the steel industry?
China knows exactly what it’s doing when it overproduces and dumps steel in our market. This is an attack on our steel industry. If unfair trade practices are allowed to continue and the steel industry is allowed to falter, China will have an economic and strategic edge over the United States. Just as you can’t regrow an oak tree quickly after cutting it down, once we lose domestic steel production, it’s going to be awfully hard to get it back.

How would your constituents be affected if trade laws are not aggressively enforced?
My district would suffer irreparable harm. In several towns across my district, steel isn’t part of the economy- it is the economy. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but a steel industry collapse would set the rural economy back by a decades.

How is the steel industry an example of environmental stewardship?
In addition to being the most continuously recycled material in the world, the steel industry has achieved a 31% reduction in energy intensity and a 36% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity since 1990.

Why is national infrastructure investment important?
Nearly every industry is more or less dependent on public infrastructure. Building new projects and properly maintaining what we have is a pretty small investment to support hundreds of millions of jobs.