Martha Coakley today toured the Lawrence headquarters of Polartec with businessman and former Democratic primary challenger Stephen Pagliuca. At the Polartec facility, Coakley reiterated her call for a comprehensive job creation strategy to get the Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts, and America back to work.
Coakley and Pagliuca observed the manufacturing process for the garments produced by Polartec as they toured the spinning room, cutting room and dyeing room of the factory, meeting employees and hearing their concerns along the way. Following the tour, Coakley and Pagliuca joined Andy Vecchione, Polartec's CEO, and David Costello, Polartec's government relations director, for a conversation about the work Polartec does, the challenges the company faces, and how Coakley could affect change in the U.S. Senate to make government work better for companies like Polartec.
Polartec is a textile company that employs 1,000 people in the greater Lawrence area and produces garments for both civilian and military markets, including vital equipment for our soldiers overseas. Polartec produces products used by all branches of the Department of Defense, including the Army's Extended Cold Weather Clothing System (ECWCS), the Marine Corps Cold Weather Layering System (CWLS), the Navy's flame resistant Multi-Climate Protection System (MCPS) and the Special Forces' Protective Combat Uniform (PCU).
"Over the course of numerous debates, forums, and other campaign events, I got to know Martha Coakley and what she stands for," said Pagliuca. "Martha understands that getting our economy going has to be a top priority, and she has a very strong jobs plan that will get people back to work."
"The economic crisis has hurt families in Massachusetts, and in the Merrimack Valley in particular," said Coakley. "Still, there are steps we can take to create jobs and make our economy stronger than before. As Attorney General, I have worked to foster a positive business climate in Massachusetts that promotes economic development and job creation. I will take that experience to Washington to make sure that government and the private sector work together to reduce unemployment and bring the American Dream back within reach for so many families who feel it slipping away."
Last month, Coakley released her comprehensive plan for creating jobs and spurring economic growth, outlining proposals including:
* Supporting Traditional Industries and Public-Private Partnerships -- Coakley calls for focusing on traditional local industries, such as local agriculture, health care, and biotech, ensuring that they have the support they need to thrive. Her plan promotes public-private partnerships among these industries to boost the economy, in part by leveraging existing federal resources and programs to maximize the availability of growth funds for local businesses.
* Boosting Green Industries -- Noting that the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries created more than nine million jobs in 2007, Coakley's plan calls for significant investment in the research, development and implementation of green technology in order to provide high paying, quality jobs. Coakley also calls for continued funding for the Green Jobs Act and other training resources to ensure that workers can succeed in green industries.
* Fostering Innovation -- Stressing that innovation is key to economic recovery, Coakley's plan calls for support of innovative start-ups in order to create jobs and contribute to long-term economic growth. Coakley supports making the federal Research and Development Tax Credit permanent, and supports the creations of President Obama's proposed Advanced Manufacturing Fund to identify and invest in the most compelling advanced manufacturing strategies.
* Training and Educating our Workers -- Recognizing that as we develop new technologies and energy sources, our workers will require a new set of skills, Coakley's plan calls for resources for training and education of workers though career and technical education, as well as postsecondary education and training provided through the national system of workforce investment programs. She supports improvements to the Workforce Investment Act in order to meet the needs of the 21st century economy.
* Supporting Small Businesses -- Coakley's plan calls for targeted tax relief and loan opportunities for small businesses, as well as giving entrepreneurs the tools to hire and retain the most qualified workers. She supports the bipartisan HIRE America Act, which will make permanent tax incentives for small businesses to hire new workers, and pledges to support minority and women-owned businesses.
Coakley became Massachusetts' first female Attorney General in January 2007. Since then, she has established herself as a leader on a variety of issues affecting Massachusetts residents, including addressing the foreclosure crisis that has plagued so many families. She has a proven track record of taking on Wall Street and protecting consumers, recovering record settlements in enforcement actions from companies such as Goldman Sachs and Fremont Investment and Loan for violating consumer protection laws. As part of her Cyber Crime Initiative, Coakley revolutionized the tools available to prosecutors for fighting crime in the 21st century, ensuring that Massachusetts is on the cutting edge of public safety.
Coakley, 56, was raised in North Adams. She is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, MA, where she was a member of the first class admitted to the college that included female students. She received her law degree from Boston University School of Law in 1979. Coakley resides in Medford with her husband, Thomas F. O'Connor, a retired police Deputy Superintendent.