February 1, 2007

State of Alabama
Press Release: Lt. Governor Folsom (2007-11)

Folsom Speaks at Annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet

By Nancy Glasscock
The Cullman Times

Cullman County and Alabama are “on the verge of moving to the next level,” Lt. Gov.
Jim Folsom said Thursday night, at the 64th annual Cullman Area Chamber of
Commerce Banquet. Folsom was the featured speaker at the dinner meeting, as hundreds of chamber members gathered to recognize local residents for their community service efforts. Elected lieutenant governor in November, Folsom said in some ways he feels like a 40-year-old quarterback. In 1978, he was elected to the Public Service Commission, where he served two terms, and in 1986 and 1990, he was elected lieutenant governor with overwhelming majorities.

In April 1993, he was sworn in as Alabama’s 53rd governor. “I’ve got four years, and I
want to take that time and give back to the community what I can,” he said. Folsom
directed Alabama’s efforts to attract the first Mercedes-Benz automobile manufacturing
plant outside Germany. Since then, about 150,000 jobs have been created in Alabama
through the recruitment of Mercedes and other international automobile manufacturers,
he said. “Things are really moving ahead,” Folsom said. “It’s kind of like a new frontier.”
Folsom said Mercedes represents a $1 billion investment, and employs 4,500; Honda
represents a $1.2 billion investment and employs 4,500; Hyundai represents a $4.1 billion investment and employs 2,800 and Toyota represents a $450 million investment and employs 950.

According to an economic-impact study conducted by the Cullman Economic
Development Agency, Cullman’s newest industrial plant, Yutaka Technologies, will pay
out an estimated $12.9 million in hourly payroll over the next three years locally. Yutaka
is expected to create about 80 local jobs in 2007, not including the workers who will help build the plant. That number is expected to increase to 130 by 2008, topping out at a full 200 in 2009. At its estimated peak, annual, hourly payroll will run an estimated $5.5 million, not including salaried workers.

Folsom said Cullman’s Industrial Development Board should be commended, and is one
of the top I.D. boards in Alabama. “Cullman County is a major player,” Folsom said.
“It’s a great community. We have a great work ethic; we have a great school system; we have great political leaders and have great professional staff. That is really something to be applauded.”

In other business, former Warden Brian Buegler received the Lucille Galin Public
Service Award, which is presented by the Cullman County Mayor’s Council Association
to a person who is not an elected official, and has significantly contributed to the
community. Buegler retired recently from his position as warden after 27 years.
Former Chamber Chair Ed Darling was the recipient of the Emma Marie Eddleman
Citizenship Award, an honor named after a civic leader in Cullman who served as
Chamber director. Eddleman received the award in 1985. Darling, publisher of The
Cullman Times since June 1997, was recently named president of Greenville
Newspapers, publisher of The Greenville Advocate and senior vice president of Boone
Newspapers. Darling said he had mixed feelings about leaving Cullman, a county he said
is “on the threshold of greatness.” “Leaving Cullman is the hardest decision we have ever made, largely because of you,” he told the audience. “No one in 64 years has enjoyed being chair of your Chamber of Commerce as much as I have.” Darling passed the gavel to the 2007-2008 Chamber Chair Laurie Ewing. “Cullman is special because of who you give, and what you do, and my request is that you continue to do it,” she said. “We’re on a great roll, and we want to keep it that way.”

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