Iowa governor uses Democrats’ radio address to criticize job losses

Iowa governor uses Democrats’ radio address to criticize job losses
Date February 16, 2004
By DAVID PITT
Associated Press Writer

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack on Saturday cited the layoff of 1,600 refrigerator manufacturing plant workers in neighboring Illinois to illustrate the devastation he said Bush administration policies have created.

Iowa-based Maytag Corp. is phasing out the jobs in Galesburg, Ill., and moving much of the production to a new plant in Mexico.

Vilsack used the Democrats’ weekly radio address to criticize the administration for suggesting in a recent report to Congress that the flight of factory jobs to other countries is a good thing.

“My fellow Americans, the president is trying to make election year lemonade out of a colossal lemon,” Vilsack said. “President Bush is out of touch with Main Street and too worried about Wall Street.”

He called the job losses a “terrible and historic setback for our economy and an impediment to our future.” He also criticized the administration’s tax cuts, which he said have hurt state budgets.

“Today, state governments have deficits totaling $90 billion,” said Vilsack, chairman of the Democratic Governors’ Association. “In the states, the economy is not an abstract issue. How do you raise educational standards or keep college affordable if you have to cut budgets to balance budgets?”

He said Bush could do what many governors are doing to help stop job losses.

Vilsack cited Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s proposal to create a transition training center to help the Maytag workers find new jobs. He also noted an Iowa plan to build new power plants and a seven-year economic development program designed to create 50,000 jobs.

“The president must apply the same focused approach to uplifting the national economy instead of chaining our children’s dreams to a rudderless and unfair economic agenda,” Vilsack said.

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