Virginia Senate Republican Caucus

Sen. Mark Obenshain Statement on US Department of Justice's

Thu, 2011-06-23 20:00 -- Mike

HARRISONBURG-Today, Senator Obenshain welcomed the news that the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) had reached a settlement with George's, Inc., which, if approved by the U.S. District Court for Western Virginia, will approve the acquisition of Tyson Food, Inc's poultry processing plant by George's, Inc.

"The Justice Department's lawsuit threatened to shutter a plant employing five hundred people, and jeopardized contracts with 121 local growers," said Obenshain. "I welcome the news that the Justice Department has retreated from their unwarranted opposition to this acquisition, and that George's, Inc., and the Justice Department have reached an agreement that will keep the plant running and keep these jobs in the Shenandoah Valley."

"Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of our region, and federal intervention in a sale designed to keep a poultry plant operating was not just federal over-extension - it was an assault on our economy," added Obenshain.

"When the Justice Department exceeds its authority, it is necessary to push back," added Obenshain. "We've all seen examples of the federal government telling companies how to do business, and where. That sort of intervention is an assault on our liberties and on our economic vitality, and I am pleased to see that Justice decided to make a retreat." Senator Obenshain was the first elected official to publicly call for the withdrawal of the USDOJ's antitrust suit, writing a letter, cosigned by other members of the Shenandoah Valley's legislative delegation, urging the Department to reconsider its decision.

"I do not believe that there was any merit to the Justice Department's lawsuit, and would have preferred the complete withdrawal of the suit to a negotiated settlement. However, when the full weight of the federal government is brought to bear, sometimes businesses have to accept the best deal they can get -- even if they were fully in the right. I believe this is just such a case, but I am nonetheless pleased with the substantially better outlook for George's and the poultry industry here in the Shenandoah Valley. 

The agreement reached by the USDOJ and George's, Inc., must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. "I look forward to an expeditious approval of this agreement to help ensure the continued success of the agricultural economy in the Shenandoah Valley," said Obenshain.

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate. The district includes the City of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, and Rappahannock, and Rockingham (part).