CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.- A Missouri lawmaker who represents the Bootheel says plant closings across the United States have been devastating.

State Sen. Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff)

State Sen. Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, represents eight counties in southeast Missouri, including New Madrid County.

He says American manufacturing has been “under attack” for a long time.

“Competition is good but there needs to be fair competition, and it’s been unfair for many years,” Libla says.

About 900 people lost their jobs in New Madrid, when the Noranda smelter closed in 2016.

Libla says Chinese dumping hurt the plant, adding that President Donald Trump (R) understands international trade.

Libla, who chairs the Senate Small Business and Industry Committee, is concerned about the region’s future and tax base, after the Noranda closing.

During an extensive Facebook live interview with Missourinet at the Drury Plaza Hotel Cape Girardeau conference center on Wednesday, Libla says he wants opportunities for young people to stay in the area and earn a living.

“You have, you know, sometimes as many as three generations of families that’s worked there (Noranda) and made a really good living there,” says Libla.

Libla says Noranda was also involved in the community.

He hopes the smelter can reopen and that a steel mill is built in New Madrid.

State Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, told Missourinet earlier this week that Magnitude 7 has purchased the smelter in bankruptcy, adding they were the only potential buyer that didn’t want to shut it down.

Rone is hopeful the smelter can reopen before January 1, with about 300 jobs.