Speaking in front of area business and community leaders, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today delivered the keynote speech at the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Regional Chamber Luncheon in Ypsilanti. Stabenow discussed how Michigan is in a unique position to make sure America wins the race against other countries in the development of new clean energy technologies. Washtenaw County companies like A123 Systems and Sakti3 and the University of Michigan have become major innovators in the field of advanced batteries.
Senator Debbie Stabenow said: "When we make things and grow things in Michigan we create jobs in Michigan. That is exactly what is happening with the emerging advanced battery industry and new clean energy jobs that are being created right here in Washtenaw County. We cannot afford to lose the race to build the clean energy technologies of the future to other countries."
Diane Keller, CEO of the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Regional Chamber said: "It was great to have Senator Stabenow back with us again. She touched on all the hard work she's doing for Michigan, especially the emerging battery industry, and she gave us a very thorough update on what's happened in DC and what to expect. We always want to provide our members with value and bringing in speakers like Debbie Stabenow is a great way to do that."
In July, Senator Stabenow unveiled a major initiative to expand Michigan's advanced battery industry and spur clean energy job growth. Stabenow's Battery Innovation Act is the first coordinated plan that incorporates all aspects of advanced battery production, from research and development, to the availability of raw materials, to the manufacturing of these high-tech products.
Senator Stabenow discussed the success of the Department of Energy retooling loan program that she authored, known as Section 136. Ford used a retooling loan to transform the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne to build the new Ford Focus and battery-electric Ford Focus in Michigan. Ford will be able to employ thousands of workers and bring jobs back from Mexico to the Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti to build the battery packs to support the new production.
As Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Stabenow also discussed efforts she is leading to help grow Michigan agriculture, which is the second-largest sector of our economy. Michigan agriculture generates more than $71.3 billion in revenue and supports one out of every four jobs in the state.
There are 1,300 farms in Washtenaw County, producing corn, soy, wheat, dairy and vegetables. Washtenaw is the number two county in the state in organic crops and is home to a variety of farmers markets in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti.
Senator Stabenow continued: "Washtenaw County farmers continue to grow and produce high-quality and an abundant variety of crops and vegetables, helping to grow agriculture in Michigan five times faster than the economy as a whole. We are poised to continue building on that success, including opportunities in food processing and bio-based manufacturing, so we can create new jobs here in Michigan."
Senator Stabenow also discussed efforts she has championed to cut taxes and red tape for Michigan small businesses, double exports in the next five years as a member of the President's Export Council, and protect our Michigan way of life by sponsoring the Stop Asian Carp Act.