Politics

Lawmakers Travel to Detroit to Meet With GM Execs

DETROIT – State lawmakers from the Mahoning Valley this week traveled to General Motors Co.’s headquarters to make sure that executives there understand the importance of GM’s Lordstown Complex and what it means to the region.

“With the recent reduction in shifts and the decline in sales of the Cruze, our legislative delegation thought it was critical to sit down with GM officials to discuss matters face-to-face,” said state Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-32 Bazetta, in a statement Thursday. “We wanted to express our desire to work with GM to increase sales of the Cruze and keep the Lordstown plant in consideration for any future vehicle development.”

Joining O’Brien were state Reps. Glenn Holmes, D-63, McDonald, and Michael O’Brien, D-64 Warren, according to a news release distributed to media Thursday.

The legislators met with Dan Turton, North America vice president of public policy; Bryan R. Roosa, executive director of North America government relations; John K. Blanchard, director of local government relations; and Brian O’Connell, director of state government relations.

“We want to keep the lines of communication open with General Motors relative to the Lordstown facility,” Holmes said.

Lawmakers noted that the fate of the Lordstown plant is a concern for residents in the region since production at the plant has been downsized to a single shift from three. As such, the plant has shed more than 2,000 jobs since sales of the Cruze started to slip two years ago.

“As leaders in the global automotive industry, General Motors executives are very willing to continue the conversation we initiated this week,” Michael O’Brien said. “GM’s corporate executives said several times how impressed they were that we made the drive to Detroit headquarters.”

GM has remained noncommittal about securing a new product for the plant once the Cruze discontinues production. Earlier this year, both of Ohio’s U.S. senators, Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman, met with GM CEO Mary Barra.

Both senators said that Barra would not commit to keeping the Lordstown plant open.

“As one of the top employers in the Valley, we hope to have additional talks and continue our strong relationship with GM,” Sen. O’Brien said. “We remain committed to manufacturing a great product like the Cruze in Lordstown and we will continue to support the men and women who work at the plant. I believe our talks went a long way in doing that.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.