Trump must save GM’s Lordstown, Ohio plant, or he might be the next to lose his job

Last July, President Donald Trump came to my hometown in Ohio. The Mahoning Valley, as it is known, is ground zero for what I refer to as the “Trump Democrat.”

The Youngstown-Warren area has been reliably blue for generations, fueled by the working-class union households who equated the Democratic Party with jobs and good wages. Over the years, the steel industry that once employed thousands of workers has disappeared. Tired of empty promises, these same Democrats were drawn to Donald Trump as someone who could finally help turn around our long-suffering community.

When President Trump visited Youngstown, he told to the crowd of 8,000 people that he noticed the skeletal remains of once occupied factories. “We’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build new ones,” he said. “After years and years of sending our jobs and wealth to other countries, we are finally standing up for our workers and for our companies…We never again will sacrifice Ohio jobs and those in other states to enrich other countries.”

The crowd cheered, bolstered with hope that President Trump would protect their jobs.

While steel jobs may have dwindled, manufacturing – anchored by the General Motors’ Lordstown assembly plant – has remained the cornerstone of the local economy. The facility has had its ups and downs since it first opened in 1966.

In its early days, GM Lordstown employed over 13,000 Ohioans. Today, roughly 1,600 people work there. A number of different models have been manufactured at the plant, including the Chevy Caviler, Pontiac Sunfire and the current Chevy Cruze.

My local community and its leaders have always banded together to show GM that Lordstown was up to the task of keeping a product or making a new one. They managed to hang on for 52 years, until this week, when the plant’s closing was announced.

The jobs Trump vowed to protect have vanished. I’m not suggesting that Trump caused the closure. Sales of the Chevy Cruze have been flagging for a while due to the growing SUV market share. 1,500 employees were laid off earlier this year. And Lordstown is not alone. GM will eliminate roughly 14,000 jobs between five plants in the U.S. and Canada next year.

But here is what is infuriating to me. General Motors continues to make the Chevy Cruze hatchback model in Mexico and has expanded its operations there to include new production of the Chevy Blazer. President Trump said he would not allow Ohio jobs to be sacrificed to enrich other countries, but that is exactly what is happening.

But here is what is infuriating to me. General Motors continues to make the Chevy Cruze hatchback model in Mexico and has expanded its operations there to include new production of the Chevy Blazer. President Trump said he would not allow Ohio jobs to be sacrificed to enrich other countries, but that is exactly what is happening.

GM employs 5,600 people in Mexico to make the Chevy Cruze hatchback – basically the same car GM is taking away from Lordstown. The average wage of a Mexican worker in a GM plant is $3 per hour. Meanwhile, 1,600 Ohioans will lose jobs that pay roughly $24 per hour to an assembly line worker.

GM jobs built my community’s middle class by paying good wages and providing a strong benefits package. Lordstown families could afford to get their kids braces and send them to college. They could go out to dinner or the movies. They put money back into the local economy.

Losing Lordstown is more than just about losing jobs. It’s about losing our dignity and sense of self that has been defined by GM’s presence in Trumbull County for over five decades.

Donald Trump won Trumbull County, which is home to the GM Lordstown plant. He was the first Republican to win this county in 88 years. I am from Trumbull County and represented it in the Ohio Senate for 10 years. I know from speaking to my neighbors and constituents that many of them voted for Trump because they expected him to help our economy.

Well, here is President Trump’s chance to help us.

Our local economy will collapse if Lordstown closes. The president needs to work with GM to move production of the Cruze from Mexico to Lordstown. In speaking with plant officials when I was in office, I learned it would take minimal investment to adapt the line at Lordstown to be able to make the hatchback Cruze that is currently being made in Mexico.

President Trump’s slogan on the campaign trail now is “Promises Kept.” I believe he wants to keep the promises he made to the people of the Mahoning Valley, and I think only the Trump White House can move this big of a mountain.

If Trump fails to help, Ohio may not blame him for GM closing its doors, but they will blame him for not saving the plant. If that happens, Trump may be the next to lose his job in 2020.

In the Mahoning Valley, we never give up when the chips are down. President Trump should not give up on getting GM to invest in Ohio.

Source: FoxNews

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