OAK RIDGE (WATE) – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry visited the Oak Ridge National Lab on Monday with Sen. Lamar Alexander. His last stop on the trip was to the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility. This is where the national lab houses its 3D printers.

“You’re surrounded by great patriots in this community,” said Sec. Perry.

Perry called his visit to Oak Ridge National Lab extraordinary. He got a taste of the cutting edge work done there. During his time, he got to drive a 3D printed excavator.

“Men and women who work here do not have to worry if they are making a difference,” he said.

It was a peek into the future of advanced technology. He also got to drive a 3D printed electric vehicle. That car took just over 24 hours to make. He said this visit gave him hope that the greatest days in America are ahead.

“Because of the national labs, the commitment of our congress to the national labs and the vision they have as we go forward,” he said.

Perry said that relationship with Congress is strong. He calmed any fears about funding cuts by reminding employees about his experience as the governor of Texas.

“They have a tested manager. Thirty billion is a lot of money, but I have managed budgets a lot bigger than that before,” said Perry.

Alexander said he will continue to work with Perry. He said he is confident they will come up with an appropriations that moves Oak Ridge forward.

Perry also emphasized that the research in Oak Ridge is a high priority. He noted the national lab’s nuclear program.

“The men and women who have worked to keep this country safe,” he said.

Perry believed super-computing is something our country’s national labs can work on. He said the United States does not lead that field but it is important for our health care and economy.

He visited national labs in Idaho and New Mexico before his trip to Oak Ridge.