Ryan Hails Lordstown Motors-Foxconn Agreement as ‘Grand Slam’

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan hailed Wednesday’s announcement that Hon Hai Technology Group, also known as FoxConn, would enter into an agreement with Lordstown Motors Corp. to purchase its plant and partner with the electric vehicle startup to develop vehicle programs for the commercial fleet market. 

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, called the announcement the “beginning of the renaissance” of the Mahoning Valley and the entire region, and a “grand slam” during a phone interview Wednesday night. 

“A hundred years from now or 50 years from now, there’s going to be the Mahoning Valley before the Foxconn deal and the Mahoning Valley after the Foxconn deal,” he said. “This is the break we’ve been waiting for for a long time.”

In a news release shortly after the announcement, Ryan said he had spoken with both Lordstown Motors CEO Daniel Ninivaggi and Jerry Hsiao, an executive with FoxConn, to express his support and that of the area for the company to succeed and “dominate the electrical vehicle industry.” 

Although the congressman said the company officials did not make any requests for assistance, he noted during the interview that the recently passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $7.5 billion for EV charging stations, as well as funds to address infrastructure needs that would benefit the plant. 

“We’ve got to have a big conversation about workforce development and making sure that they’re getting the workers that have the skills that they need to be successful,” he continued. 

“My main point is they know that I stand ready to do everything I can to create an environment to succeed, because if they succeed it means thousands and thousands, and probably tens of thousands of people in our community will feel the economic impact of this,” he said. 

Ryan said he was not concerned about the fact that the former GM plant now would be owned by a foreign company, or about Foxconn’s experience in Wisconsin, where it drastically scaled back its investment and job-creation pledges after accepting $4 billion in public money. He described as “pretty haphazard” the Wisconsin deal with Foxconn.

He reiterated that FoxConn was “not asking for a nickel” from state or local government and is coming to the Valley because it is good business, and they love the workforce and the location. 

“They are a global technology company that has tens of billions of dollars in cash,” he remarked. “They’ve done and said all the right things. They love the workforce. They love the location.”

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.