Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) hosted roundtable discussions at Hawkeye Community College in Waterloo and Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids today to discuss encouraging American manufacturing growth.
"America's economic strength was founded on making things, and when American manufacturing was at its peak, the middle class was growing and thriving," Braley said. "With a renewed national focus on expanding manufacturing, we can grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.
"I was pleased to see President Obama focus on manufacturing growth in his State of the Union address this month, but Congress needs to follow through and get something done. That's why I'll be working with members of both parties in the coming months to find and implement the best ideas that will promote and expand American manufacturing.
"I'm hosting these roundtables to get ideas from Iowans who work every day on the front lines
Since 2001, Iowa has lost 780 manufacturing facilities and over 32,000 manufacturing jobs.
In his State of the Union address earlier this month, President Obama unveiled a manufacturing plan that included new tax credits to encourage the production of products in the US, the creation of fifteen so-called "Manufacturing Innovation Institutes" across the United States to develop new manufacturing technology, and an increase in the minimum wage to $9 per hour.
Participating in the Waterloo roundtable were Nick Taiber (CPM Roskamp), Nancy West (Engineered Products), Stacy Halverson (GMT Manufacturing), Cynthia Goro (Cedar Valley Manufacturing Association), Steve Dust and Liza Skubal (Greater Cedar Valley Alliance), Cary Darrah (TechWorks), and Linda Allen & Kathy Flynn (Hawkeye Community College).
Cedar Rapids roundtable participants included Jeff Mitchell, Ben Foley, Amy Lasack, & Teresa Brockhage (Kirkwood Community College), Sean Galleger (Iowa State University), Rhonda Griffin (Centro), Yvonne Hoth (Midwest Metal Products), Barbra Snitker (Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance), Robert Becker (In Tolerance) and Jeremy Johnson & Greg Stover (Marion Mixers).