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Public Statements

Issues Facing Americans

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. Thank you. And I just want to thank the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Hanabusa) for her commitment to growing our economy not only here in this country but we can help the world by us in the United States manufacturing the best products and creating the best technologies.

I have introduced a bill called the Detroit Jobs Trust Fund. It will create jobs in Detroit. And Detroiters really need it because we've got the highest unemployment rate. We've lost more jobs than any metropolitan region in this country during the last 10 years. But as Ms. Hanabusa pointed out, investing in Detroit not only creates jobs for Detroiters, it will put Americans throughout this country back to work. And that's because in spite of Detroit's troubling economic situation and high unemployment rate, we still have the manufacturing know-how and we have the well trained workforce to put Americans back to work, especially in the area of advanced manufacturing.

So when Detroit makes its streets safer by hiring more police officers, more firefighters, and properly deploying them, when we improve and reform our public education system by opening more high quality schools, hiring more teachers who can go do the job, and when we reduce the cost of living and doing business in Detroit by cutting some very high municipal taxes, those factors--safe streets, good schools, and low taxes--that will attract investment back to the city.

If you take a look at the city of Detroit, you will see that we have a lot of vacant property. Well, that's land ready for a big plant to be located there. And by capturing the existing federal tax revenue that Detroit individuals and Detroit businesses already pay and having that money placed in a trust fund administered by the Department of the Treasury to be invested in Detroit to hire those police officers, hire and train those teachers and to cut taxes, we can bring employers back to Detroit to hire Detroiters. But also, we can resurrect our manufacturing powerhouse in Detroit and create those jobs throughout the country the same way Detroit did back in World War II.

Detroiters built the arsenal of democracy that helped win World War II and saved this country and this world from fascism. It was metro Detroiters' manufacturing know-how that built some of the best cars in the world and that created millions of jobs worldwide, and especially in this country.

So in the same way, by investing in Detroit, in the Detroit workforce, in the Detroit winning spirit--exemplified by the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Lions--we can put our people back to work. We can make this country even stronger in advanced manufacturing and help uplift the quality of life for everyone around the world.

I appreciate you giving me this time, the gentlewoman from Hawaii (Ms. Hanabusa), for talking about an important issue, putting Detroiters back to work.

If I can just say as a final note--I mentioned this last night--getting a job is important. Many years ago, in this last big recession we had in the 1980s, I was without a job and I lost hope. And that can be devastating, not only devastating economically and financially to people, but it can be devastating to the spirit of a human being. So a job gives somebody a paycheck, but it gives a person self-worth and the dignity and the uplifting spirit that they need to keep marching on. And that's what this country is all about.

You know, we have to deal with obstacles; but as Americans, we can turn those obstacles into opportunities. That's why immigrants are so successful when they come here to this country because they see this country for all its richness, for all its opportunity, and they seize it. I'm just asking for that same opportunity to be available for Detroiters, to put our country back to work.


Mr. CLARKE of Michigan. You are absolutely right, creating those jobs in Detroit will have a ripple effect throughout this country.

And I'm glad you mentioned about remanufacturing. That's the best way to have Make It in America jobs. Actually, I was able to visit a remanufacturing plant right outside the city of Detroit 2 weeks ago. It's fascinating what they do. These are not used units. These are totally remade. And, actually, these are better units and pieces of equipment than if you actually bought something new. So instead of U.S. manufacturers buying new products overseas that are made overseas, they can buy great remanufactured units right here at home, putting Americans back to work. So you're absolutely right about that.


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