Joe Wilson is a Republican politician for South Carolina and Co-chair of the Composites Caucus. He was a former U.S. Army lawyer, South Carolina State Senator and since 2001 has represented the state’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
What is the purpose of the composites caucus?
Last year when the Composites Caucus began we knew the purpose was, and continues to be, to promote knowledge of how important the composites industry is to the U.S. industry. It is a $70 billion industry involving over 550,000 people, mainly in small businesses.
How did you decide to co-chair the Composites Caucus?
Over my years in the Senate I’ve worked with organizations and businesses that have used and promoted composites. South Carolina is a leading state for auto parts production, which is a big industry for composites. Also, my predecessor Floyd Spence was a huge advocate of composites and even has a composites center in West Columbia, S.C., named after him. These two influences, as well as my long-time association with ACMA President Monty Felix, paved the way for my involvement in the Composites Caucus
Why does the composites industry need a caucus?
The Caucus is a way to educate and recruit members of Congress on the importance of composites within their districts. People aren’t educated on what composites are or how widely used they are. I know I am always learning how versatile composites are!
In South Carolina, we are rejoicing over Boeing’s announcement to have a second line in our state. The 787 is a hallmark, demonstrating an unprecedented use of composites. I had toured the facility where the fuselage will be made prior to Boeing’s purchase of it and other facilities. It’s exciting that the new generation of jetliners in U.S. will be made of composites. By reducing weight, the new 787 provides greater fuel efficiency and a longer range, which lowers cost to customers.
How do you see the Stimulus Bill affecting the composites industry?
Sadly, often times with the Stimulus Bill it’s become hard to find out where the money actually went. If you look online, the website has indicated fake districts and fake jobs. I think a better way to positively influence the composites industry would have been to reduce taxes to encourage the growth of small business.
When you think of influential caucuses on Capitol Hill, what characteristics do they have in common?