BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) As the August recess is underway in Congress, United States Senator Marsha Blackburn traded in Washington D.C. for Bristol, Tennessee on Thursday.

Sen. Blackburn hosted a conversation about manufacturing with business leaders, community stakeholders and local and state politicians.

“People that make the wheels turn in our communities,” Blackburn said to the crowded room.

Joining Blackburn in hosting the discussion was Tennessee’s Commissioner for Economic and Community Development, Stuart McWhorter.

Topics like the recently passed inflation reduction act helped drive the conversation. Blackburn voted no on the legislation. She says components including adding an additional 80,000 IRS agents and those related to the Green New Deal will hurt local businesses and the consumer. A law she argues does nothing to drive down inflation.

“That has added cost to your manufacturing sector and makes it more difficult for them to make a product that is going to be competitive at a price in the marketplace,” said Blackburn.

For Northeast Tennessee, economic development is a major focus.

“This is a critical component to the state’s success in terms of its economy,” said McWhorter. When it comes to bringing new industries to the region, the conversation centers around workforce development.

“As companies continue to grow as they think about relocating or expanding, workforce is at the top of the list,” said McWhorter.

Blackburn says meeting with local business leaders shows the vitality of the local economy and she calls the growth in the region ‘exciting.’ “They see people choosing to move out of these big, blue cities that have high crime and they are coming to wonderful areas like this.”

With neighboring Johnson City recently being ranked the number 7 hottest zip code to move to in the country, McWhorter says it helps the entire region, and the state, attract new business.

“If this region is getting those types of accolades for housing, it’s a positive for us. It gives us another tool in our tool chest when we speak to parts of our states and what assets we have and why it would attract these companies to come, said McWhorter.