Speaking in front of an audience of 150 guests, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow delivered the keynote address at the Southern Wayne Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Forum Luncheon at the Crystal Gardens Conference Center in Southgate. As Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus and Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow discussed how she is in a unique position to help transform and grow our automotive and agriculture industries.
Senator Debbie Stabenow said: "If you make things and grow things in Michigan you will create jobs in Michigan. Here in Wayne County we are seeing that put to practice as the region is leading the way in advanced vehicle and battery manufacturing. Agriculture in Michigan is growing five times faster than the economy as a whole. I will continue working to support our clean energy economy and agriculture sector to create new jobs."
Senator Stabenow talked about her work to spur clean energy manufacturing in Wayne County. She authored the Department of Energy retooling loan program, known as Section 136, which Ford used to transform the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to build the new Ford Focus and battery-electric Ford Focus in Michigan. Thanks to the retooling loans, Ford will be able to employ thousands of workers and bring jobs back from Mexico to build the battery packs to support the new production in Wayne.
She also discussed how Michigan has become the advanced battery capital of the country. She was instrumental in fostering an important public-private partnership that helped GM build a battery pack assembly plant for the Chevy Volt in Brownstown. A123 Systems also has advanced battery facilities in Brownstown and Romulus for hybrid and electric vehicles thanks to this partnership.
As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator Stabenow pointed out that Henry Ford was one of Michigan's greatest agriculture pioneers, involving farmers in the work he was doing on automobiles. As Michigan's second-largest industry, agriculture today generates more than $71.3 billion in revenue each year and supports one out of every four jobs in the state.