Politics

DeWine Describes Meeting with GM’s Barra as ‘Positive’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A spokesman for Mike DeWine said the governor had a “positive” meeting Thursday with General Motors CEO Mary Barra about the GM Lordstown Complex.

Dan Tierney, press secretary for the governor, reported DeWine said he was “optimistic” following the meeting in Detroit, where he and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted discussed the fate of the Trumbull County plant with Barra. The meeting took place yesterday after DeWine and Husted attended the North American International Auto Show on Wednesday.

DeWine told Barra that the state’s preference was for GM to place a new product at the Lordstown plant, where production of the Chevrolet Cruze is slated to end March 8, Tierney said.

“Short of that, GM should facilitate the sale of the Lordstown site to a new operator,” he continued. Ohio would offer assistance in either scenario.

DeWine “visits the Mahoning Valley regularly,” but Tierney said he could not comment on when the governor might visit the Lordstown plant next.

The Drive It Home Ohio campaign sent a letter of support to Barra as she met with DeWine to discuss reinvesting in GM Lordstown, according to the campaign. The letter, co-signed by James Dignan, president and CEO of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, and United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Dave Green, thanked Barra for meeting with DeWine.

Members of the Drive It Home Ohio coalition, including Dignan, Green, Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill and Warren Mayor William “Doug” Franklin, traveled to Detroit to show support for DeWine’s visit with Barra.

“The entire community has come together to work with General Motors to keep the Lordstown facility open. We have the hardest working, most productive people on the planet ready to help General Motors make the vehicles of the future,” the letter stated.

“We are optimistic that the meeting between you and Gov. Mike DeWine will demonstrate the state’s commitment to a partnership that works for General Motors and keeps everyone working,” it continued. “Through times good and bad, the Mahoning Valley has stood strong with General Motors and we are only asking for the opportunity to get up, go to work every day and help GM make the finest cars and trucks in the world.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan announced Thursday that he has invited Green to be his guest for the annual State of the Union address. Green will represent “the hundreds of laid off GM Lordstown workers who deserve to be seen and heard,” Ryan said in a news release Thursday.

“Since GM’s announcement to close the Lordstown plant, he’s been working around-the-clock to support GM workers and advocate for a new product at the facility,” Ryan said. “I can’t imagine a better partner in this fight to save GM Lordstown.”

“I’m proud to represent the hundreds of dedicated workers at GM Lordstown who have been affected by the announcement to place this plant on unallocated status,” Green said. “I look forward to attending the State of the Union and representing the values of our hard-working men and women. Our voices deserve to be heard.”

Ryan also said he supports postponing the speech until the partial shutdown of the federal government ends.

“On the 27th day of the government shutdown, 800,000 Americans are still furloughed or working without pay – with no idea when their next paycheck will come. Only after we get America back to work should we be talking about presidential addresses,” he said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.