Froman makes first visit to Selma

Published 10:19 pm Monday, May 11, 2015

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Selma Mayor George Evans share a laugh as they walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge Monday.--Alaina Denean Deshazo

Congresswoman Terri Sewell, United States Trade Representative Michael Froman and Selma Mayor George Evans share a laugh as they walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge Monday.–Alaina Denean Deshazo

Selma’s own Congresswoman Terri Sewell welcomed a member of the Obama administration to the Queen City Monday during a statewide tour. 

United States Trade Representative Michael Froman, the chief United States official on international trade and a member of President Obama’s cabinet rode alongside Congresswoman Sewell to meet with local leaders and discuss exports as they apply to Alabama’s economy and expansion.

Monday was Froman’s first time in Selma, and he said he was excited to be able to visit, especially only months after the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the civil rights movement.

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“It’s very exciting to be here and I’ve known the Congresswoman for a long time. I’ve always wanted to come down here so this is a great opportunity for me … to talk about what’s going on here in this community and how to make sure what we’re doing is going to promote jobs and promote growth and good paying jobs with manufacturing factories, for agriculture, for service industries in places like Selma and around the region,” Froman said. “[Congresswoman Sewell] has been a terrific representative of the people of this district and she rides us hard and makes sure that we’re doing the right thing and we appreciate that.”

Sewell said bringing Froman to Selma was important for the city and she was glad to receive him.

“To welcome the United States Trade Representative to the city of Selma is just great,” Sewell said. “We’re on a listening tour to talk about the impact that trade has on the state of Alabama and in particular the 7th Congressional District, and to be able to have him see my hometown and see the great companies that are here in Selma and the great potential that is here in Selma, I think that the story of Selma as a smaller southern town and the importance of trade to the viability of towns all across America is a story that I think can be told here in Selma.”

After touring the Selma Interpretive Center and before walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Froman spoke about the impact that business plays in the economy and the need for expansion.

“This district has over 1,000 companies that export, and about 70 percent of those companies are small or medium sized businesses, and what we’re trying to do is open markets so those small, medium sized businesses can increase their exports and therefore hire more people, pay better wages, expand their operations really across the district,” Froman said. “There’s really a whole series of parts of the economy that can benefit.”

Selma Mayor George Evans welcomed Froman with open arms and said he was glad to have him in Selma.

“I welcome him here. As he said, it’s his first time in Selma, [and] we hope he’ll come back because Selma is certainly the queen belt of the Black Belt,” Evans said. “We have the Alabama River here, we have the airport, we have Highway 80 and we have the rail system. We have all the ingredients that go towards putting this all together so we’re just so excited about [Froman] being in Selma.”

Before leaving Selma to continue their tour, Sewell reflected on the plans of the administration to open markets and the possibilities that Selma has with trade.

“The Obama administration is committed to opening markets globally for American companies and to have the Trade Representative, who is the chief negotiator of those trade policies all around the world, to come to my district and to come to my hometown and see the possibilities and the great things that are going here is awesome,” Sewell said.

“I think it’s important that trade policies are not just free trade, but fair trade and that they’re fair to the American workers and American industries, and so I think it’s important that this administration gets to see a city like Selma when they’re developing their trade policies globally, so that they can truly, accurately reflect all of America.”