On July 8, 2010 Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) hosted an Economic Forum to discuss efforts to revitalize the local economy. He was joined by panelists with extensive experience in the trade and manufacturing sectors to talk about what is being done to protect American jobs and rebuild the manufacturing base in Bucks County.
"American families have been put through the wringer," said Congressman Murphy. "We need to get our economy back on track by building things in America again."
In his remarks, the Congressman laid out his economic priorities, which include fighting against trade deals that ship American jobs overseas and working to close tax loopholes that encourage job outsourcing. He noted that failed economic policies and ill-conceived trade agreements have dealt a heavy blow to the manufacturing sectors in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Bucks County alone lost 35% of its manufacturing base --15,000 jobs -- over the last 30 years.
The Congressman also discussed incentives for manufacturing he has championed, including tax credits for companies to invest in clean energy technology. Gamesa USA, a Fairless Hills company that manufactures turbines used in wind energy, qualified for a $2 million tax credit to create green energy jobs in Bucks County.
One of the panelists, Mike Russo, is President of the United Steelworkers of America Local 4889 and represents the employees at the Gamesa site. As a former US Steel employee, Russo witnessed firsthand the impact of the manufacturing giant's collapse in Bucks County. Families who were once securely rooted in the middle-class suddenly faced the possibility of losing everything they'd worked for. Russo discussed how continuing to bring new American manufacturing jobs to the region is key to revitalizing the local economy.
"Working families in our area have had it tough, especially those of us who used to work in the steel industry," said Russo. "The fact is, the future lies in clean energy and we've been proud to work with Patrick Murphy to bring those jobs here to Bucks County and put people back to work."
Other panelists included Jim Horan, president of local clean energy company Y-Carbon, and Scott Paul of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, who laid out a blueprint for protecting American jobs and what investments need to be made to revitalize the American manufacturing sector.