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Sens. Baldwin, Klobuchar Say Biden Will Strengthen American Manufacturing

Leaders Held Manufacturing Roundtable With State Lawmakers, Union Representatives

Tammy Baldwin
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Democratic U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Amy Klobuchar touted presidential candidate Joe Biden’s plan to boost American manufacturing in two virtual campaign events Monday.

The two events were billed as a manufacturing roundtable, and included state Reps. Nick Milroy, D-South Range, and Tod Ohnstad, D-Kenosha. Representatives from local unions also participated in the discussions.

“I see so much opportunity for the Northwoods of both (Wisconsin and Minnesota) if we were to have a ‘Make It In America’ policy so that we’re not dependent on overseas companies for everything we need to fight this pandemic,” Baldwin said, referencing a key part of Biden’s economic plan that would include supplying capital to small and mid-sized manufacturers to help them modernize.

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Klobuchar applauded another aspect of Biden’s plan that would include the federal government purchasing $400 billion in products made by American workers in Biden’s first four years in office, according to the plan. The Minnesota Democrat and former presidential challenger to Biden pointed to his experience governing.

“What I love about Joe Biden’s plans here is that, number one, we know he has the experience and the competence to get it done,” she said. “He has shown that time and time again, leading our way out of Ebola, with (former President) Barack Obama leading our way out of the last downturn.”

On Aug. 5, Biden announced he will not travel to the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee to accept the party’s nomination amid concerns about the coronavirus. The committee that is planning the event noted that other speakers who were previously planning to attend the already scaled-down event will also no longer do so.

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign pushed back on Biden’s economic record Monday, citing the then-U.S. senator’s support for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“Joe Biden’s disastrous NAFTA trade deal gutted manufacturing in Wisconsin,” Trump Victory Wisconsin Press Secretary Anna Kelly said in a statement Monday. “Thanks to President Trump’s Great American Comeback, manufacturing jobs are coming back. If Joe Biden cared about the Wisconsin worker, he wouldn’t be bailing on his own convention and supporting anti-growth policies that would obliterate jobs in the Badger State.”

On January 29, President Trump signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, an overhaul of trade rules in North America that replaced NAFTA.

Keith Musholf, a representative with the Ironworkers Local 512 union and a member of the St. Louis County, Minn. Board of Commissioners, was critical of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying that it’s led to business closures and layoffs. Musholf pointed to the July closure of the Verso paper mill in Duluth.

“Very sad that our current administration didn’t handle this pandemic seriously because we’d probably still have that mill operating right now, moving forward with their plan to start producing cardboard rather than direct paper products,” Musholf said.

Another Verso paper mill, based in Wisconsin Rapids, was shuttered in July, resulting in the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs between the two mills.

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