For every $1 of goods produced, manufacturing generates an additional $1.37 to the economy, and each manufacturing job creates another 2.5 jobs in local goods and services. Clearly an investment in American manufacturers can have a big economic impact. In regions like ours, with over 20% of the workforce in Polk, St. Croix, and Barron counties working in manufacturing that return on investment would be significant.
My family has relied on the strength of our manufacturing industry in Northwestern Wisconsin for years. My husband, Joe, worked at Andersen Windows for decades. After our family’s dairy farm was shut down, my brothers all went into packaging and fabrication. These jobs are fulfilling, family-supporting jobs that our communities need to thrive.
I’m proud to be a part of the Wisconsin team for the nationwide Policy Academy on Strengthening Your State’s Manufacturers. This policy academy, run through the National Institute of Standards and Technology, will help us leverage our state’s resources to ensure our communities and taxpayers see the full benefit of their investment in the manufacturing industry.
Our team has considered issues of automation as well as workforce development and retention. These are common threats to the industry across the country. Here in Wisconsin, our manufacturing industry is stronger than most, but we still face those same threats in a changing economy. I am committed to standing with our workers to ensure that our industry stays strong and continues to provide the family-supporting jobs that our community depends on.
Here in rural Wisconsin, we need every dollar of investment we can get to support that effort. Plus, we all know that our Wisconsin-based manufacturers produce high quality, reliable products that are worthy of an increased investment.
So earlier this month, I introduced legislation with Senator Jennifer Shilling that will require the state of Wisconsin to prioritize using American-made materials in our state-funded projects. This bill was part of the broader “Buy American” package of legislation authored by Representative Tip McGuire. Similar Buy American legislation has been introduced in 31 states, with 7 states signing Buy American bills into law including Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia.
I am doing everything I can to support manufacturing workers and American-made products. Our tax dollars shouldn’t be sent to foreign companies or spent on sub-par materials and products. By ensuring that our tax dollars support American workers, we can keep that money right here in our communities while ensuring that we are buying the highest quality products. It’s a win-win.