Amazon to build distribution site in West Jefferson, add 1,500 jobs

Columbus Dispatch

Amazon is expanding again in central Ohio.

The internet giant said Monday it will build a distribution operation in West Jefferson that will add 1,500 jobs to the region by the end of 2019.

It will become Amazon’s sixth major distribution center in Ohio and its third in the Columbus area.

“Amazon is committed to providing great opportunities for employment and creating a positive economic impact for the region,” Mark Stewart, Amazon’s vice president of North America customer fulfillment, said in a statement. “Our growth in Ohio is the result of an outstanding workforce and incredible customers, and we are proud to be adding 1,500 new jobs to the more than 6,000 Amazonians already working in the state.”

The announcement comes as Seattle-based Amazon continues to research sites for building a second headquarters, a massive project that promises 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment. Columbus is one of 20 finalists for the project.

Amazon is expected to announce the winner this year, with construction to start in 2019.

Amazon already has distribution centers in Etna Township in Licking County and Obetz in central Ohio, along with a much smaller center in Columbus as part of its Prime Now service. It also is planning distribution operations in North Randall and Euclid near Cleveland and in Monroe in southwestern Ohio.

Like Amazon’s other distribution operations in Ohio, the project in West Jefferson will be big compared with other distribution centers. The facility will be 855,000 square feet, and workers will pick, pack and ship customers items such as electronics, books, housewares and toys.

“We’re excited that Amazon is building a new fulfillment center in West Jefferson, which will help us build a stronger community for all,” said West Jefferson Mayor Ray Martin in a statement. “We’re proud of the business climate we have in West Jefferson, which is very attractive to industry leaders like Amazon.”

The announcement is just the latest of what has been a string of projects worth more than $2 billion that Amazon has developed in Ohio since 2011.

In addition to the distribution operations, Amazon has three data centers in central Ohio and wind farms in northwestern Ohio.

“It is great for Madison County and West Jefferson. On the aggregate, they are starting to have a real presence here (in central Ohio) in logistics fulfillment. … That reinforces the notion of a very flexible, capable location,” said Kenny McDonald, chief economic officer of Columbus 2020, the region’s economic-development arm.

McDonald said the new distribution operation is separate from Amazon’s second-headquarters projects, dubbed HQ2.

“They continue to see Ohio and central Ohio as a great place to do business,” he said. “Central Ohio fulfillment is becoming critically important.”

Democrats Divided as Republicans Unite

After the so-called “blue wave” failed to flood the polls on Tuesday, Democrats were left divided. What’s worse for Democrats is Richard Cordray’s inability to excite their base or unite the warring factions within the party.

On Tuesday night, Mary Taylor graciously endorsed Mike DeWine and urged her supporters to unite behind his candidacy. She also stated:

“We have to win in November, we have to beat Richard Cordray and it’s going to require all of us in this room.”

No endorsement was offered by Dennis Kucinich following his defeat. In his concession speech, Kucinich stated:

“I think that we should all join in congratulating him (Cordray) on his election, but we move forward. We move forward in a cause that is much bigger than a single campaign. This is a movement.” 

Here’s what the Cincinnati Enquirer had to say about the divide between the Cordray and Kucinich factions:

“To defeat DeWine, Cordray must first unite the populists and progressives whom Kucinich had tried to gather. Cordray has the backing of noted populist Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, but perhaps not that of Kucinich… Kucinich said Tuesday night he accepted the results of the election, but he was still trumpeting his campaign platform – not Cordray’s.”

Kucinich and his supporters aren’t the only Ohio Democrats unimpressed by Cordray. During a radio interview this week, former Democrat Ohio State Senator Capri Cafaro stated that Cordray is “not honestly particularly well-liked,” and also referenced his previous loss to Mike DeWine:

“Here’s a fun fact: Mike DeWine beat Rich Cordray when Rich Cordray was the sitting Attorney General in 2010. So that’s a thing that makes me scratch my head. Why are we signing up for this rematch?”

As we head into the general election, it’s clear that Mike DeWine is the right person to bring Ohioans together and build a stronger future for the Buckeye State.

Statement from Chairman Timken on May 8 Primary Election Victories

The following statement may be attributed to Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken.

“By nominating Mike DeWine, Jim Renacci and Robert Sprague, primary voters have picked a rock-solid team to build on Ohio’s economic success and tackle our most pressing issues. Now it is time for Ohio Republicans to come together, support these candidates, and focus on defeating the Democrats in November.”

“The Democrat agenda of obstruction at all costs will only take Ohio backward. Ohio deserves leaders who will work with the Trump Administration to build a stronger future, not far-left ideologues like Richard Cordray and Sherrod Brown who have aligned themselves with Elizabeth Warren and the so-called ‘resistance’.”