“Every time I drive through Kannapolis and I see those empty plants I know there is no way I could vote for CAFTA.”
— Rep. Robin Hayes, R-North Carolina, on July 14, 2005
Last night, after arm-twisting by the GOP leadership, Rep. Hayes voted for CAFTA.
Rep. Hayes has a powerful back-story at home that never gets mentioned in national news reports about him. His grandfather was C.W. Cannon, a towering figure in the region in his day, who was the owner of Cannon Mills, which was the dominant economic force in Piedmont region northeast of Charlotte. Cannon Mills was sold several times after the elder Cannon died. In recent years, the owners could not compete with offshore manufacturers, and last year they closed the mills altogether, leaving thousands of Rep. Hayes’ constituents without employment.