HAMILTON — U.S. Sen. Patty Murray stepped into a large silver and white composite mill at the Janicki Industries facility Wednesday afternoon for a quick education on the Skagit-based company.
Standing inside the world’s largest mill of its kind, Murray talked about the need to get veterans working at companies such as Janicki after they retire from military life.
Murray, D-Wash., said she’s working on legislation to help young military veterans re-enter the workforce.
“This is the exact kind of place we’re looking to put veterans,” said Murray, who is up for re-election this year.
Janicki executives said they hoped Murray’s legislation would improve a process they said is already constrained by law.
Tom Doughty, Janicki vice president for administration and a Navy veteran, said the company wants to hire veterans but is limited by a law that does not allow companies to ask applicants about their military background.
Janicki executives and Murray agreed the veterans need the help. Doughty said if Janicki knew about applicants’ military backgrounds, the company could help translate their military skills to fit the company’s needs.
Doughty said employers should be allowed to show preference to veteran applicants, which he said is essential to welcome soldiers back to the country.
“I’d like to be part of that soft landing when they come back, that welcome,” Doughty said.
Chief Financial Officer Lisa Janicki said employers need incentives that would encourage them to hire veterans. She said she gets reductions on Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes when she hires someone who has been unemployed for more than 60 days.
“I want something at least that big for hiring these veterans,” Janicki said.
Lisa Janicki said she also encouraged Murray to continue funding technology during the down economy, especially aerospace. Janicki said space exploration, for example, has been cut, but the government should still fund research and development.
“We can’t let the United States slip backward in technology,” Janicki said.