GREETINGS FOR PENCE - Congressman Michael Gallagher, right, looks on as Marinette County Republican Party Chair Betty Hensel greets Vice President Mike Pence shortly after he disembarked from the plane that delivered him to the airport in Green Bay on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Pence was en route to his visit to the Fincantieri Marinette Marine Shipyard in Marinette. Recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia was also a member of the party. Gallagher had traveled with them from Washington, DC., and he and Hensel joined the vice president's cavalcade for the remainder of the trip to Marinette. Once in the city, crowds of well-wishers and security personnel lined the cavalcade route. They passed Garfield Elementary School, where students and staff were all outside awaiting the visitors. Pence stopped there briefly. He commented he simply had to pull over and visit the students and teachers, declaring it had been "so awesome meeting some amazing young Americans!"
Vice President Promises More Ships For Marinette Marine Issue Date: November 27, 2019
"This is the only shipyard on the Great Lakes that builds ships for the US Navy. We are on our way to the 350 ship Navy President Trump promised us....and you're going to build a lot of it right here in Marinette," Vice President Mike Pence told the large and enthusiastic crowd that greeted him on his visit to the Fincantieri Marinette Marine shipyard on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Pence was introduced for his 11:30 a.m. speech by U.S. 8th District Rep. Mike Gallagher, who had traveled with him and U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia from Washington, D.C.
Gallagher thanked the workers at Marinette Marine for building quality vessels "that allow our nation's warriors to come home safe...Thank you for being a part of what we need to make America great again." Gallagher said he was proud to learn that 97 percent of the steel used in building Marinette Marine ships is produced in the United States, and added when he first heard that he found it hard to believe, but he had checked and that was true.
Gallagher in turn was saluted by Pence as "a rising star in the American Congress, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, a 7th generation Wisconsinite, an incredible American."
Prior to the speech Pence and his group had toured the future USS Cooperstown, and in the background in the shipyard's main construction building was the future USS Marinette.
Pence noted in his 40-minute address that just a few weeks earlier the USS Indianapolis, also built at Marinette Marine, had been commissioned in his home state of Indiana.
He recognized the long history of Marinette Marine, with generations of families employed there. Since its small beginnings with an order for five wooden barges for the Navy in 1944, what today is Marinette Marine has produced more than 1,500 ships for the U.S. Navy, "and they are some of the finest ships at sea in the world."
Moving on to items of national concern, Pence encouraged voters to call their representatives in Congress and urge them to support the USMCA Trade agreement that is to replace NAFTA, and the trade agreement with Canada known as USMC that was finalized over a year ago but still has not been approved by Congress. He said once it goes into effect that agreement will add millions to the United States economy, and will have a particularly beneficial impact on dairy farm incomes.
Fincantieri Marinette Marine recently joined the list of employers who pledged to support a federal program to provide skilled worker training and Pence saluted that decision.
"The work you're doing here is a monument to American manufacturing," Scalia declared, citing the workmanship he had seen on his tour of the ship under construction.
Scalia said he had come here with Congressman Gallagher,
Congressional Representative for the 8th Congressional District, which includes Marinette, and had been told about some of the Marinette Marine accomplishments.
He said overall during the term of President Donald Trump, Bureau of Labor statistics show that unemployment is the lowest it has been in 50 years, and for some groups - including African Americans, women and Spanish Americans - unemployment is the lowest it has ever been. And wages are rising, rising more for those at the bottom of the pay scale than for those at the top. There have been 6.3 million new jobs created in this country since January of 2017, Scalia declared, and added, "These changes aren't accidental, they're the result of good policies!" He explained those policies were promoted by President Donald Trump.
During his 40-minute address Pence said Fincantieri Marinette Marine is the latest company to sign onto the "Pledge to America's Workers." By signing the pledge, the company is committing to creating new or enhanced career opportunities over the next five years for American students and workers, and he has already seen the effects of the Marinette Marine commitment to professionalism. He noted they have doubled the workforce in just the past decade, created more than 200 good-paying jobs in the past year could see an increase of 700 new employees in the next year or two.
Pence urged everyone to call their Congressmen - those of the Democrat Party - and urge them to get moving on items of national interest, like the defense budget and approval of the new United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement known as USMCA. He said everyone has approved the agreement, but for a year Congress has refused to move it onto the floor for action. Among those he suggested calling is Senator Tammy Baldwin. He said Gallagher and Sen. Ron Johnson and other Republicans are already working diligently to get it passed.
"Marinette represents the best of our midwestern values, and I'm grateful that Vice President Pence and Secretary Scalia had the opportunity to see northeast Wisconsin's work ethic firsthand," said Rep. Gallagher after the visit. "As a midwesterner himself, Vice President Pence understands the value of hard work, and his speech laid out a compelling agenda for ways we can continue to create exciting opportunities for workers in northeast Wisconsin. We have to pass USMCA, we have to find innovative ways to strengthen our workforce, and we have to make sure Marinette continues to build U.S. Navy ships for generations to come."
Pence had been scheduled to visit Marinette Marine on Oct. 23 but that visit was cancelled due to happenings in the Middle East that may or may not have been related to the ultimate demise of Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
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