Scott Walker: First, Do no Harm

Last week, we learned that another long-time Wisconsin employer is struggling as the direct result of Governor Doyle’s failed economic policies. 

According to the Wisconsin State Journal:

"Wisconsin didn’t hold a competitive bidding process before agreeing to purchase two high-speed passenger trains from a Spanish company last month for $47.5 million, potentially missing out on other offers."

At least three other companies expressed an interest in bidding on the project, including Nippon Sharyo, a Japanese company that has been doing business with Wisconsin’s own Super Steel Corporation for
several years.  Nippon Sharyo is reportedly so furious about being cut out of the process that it has threatened to pull its contract with Super Steel. That could cost Wisconsin hundreds of good paying jobs.

Super Steel is one of the nation’s leading manufacturing and assembly operations for commuter and freight rail systems. Founded in Milwaukee in 1923, Super Steel employs nearly 800 people and had approximately $100 million in annual sales in 2007. 

Like most companies, Super Steel has been adversely affected by the economic downturn.  Last year the company was forced to close its Glenville, New York plant, eliminating 175 good paying jobs in the process. I have no doubt this was a difficult decision for Super Steel, whose company Chairman Fred Luber previously invested personal funds in an attempt to keep the plant open.

Thankfully, Super Steel’s Milwaukee plant continues to provide family supporting wages for several hundred families. This is due, in large part, to the work Super Steel performs for Nippon Sharyo and its Japanese partner, Sumitomo: assembling commuter rail passenger cars for rail systems in Chicago, Virginia and Washington D.C. Now, Governor Doyle’s back door dealing has put that in jeopardy.

Local officials have asked Governor Doyle to consider using Super Steel to assemble the rail cars recently purchased from a Spanish company for $47.5 million dollars. Governor Doyle estimates the contract will create 80 new jobs, but for how long and at what cost?
And the Governor will be hard-pressed to award the contract to an existing Milwaukee firm when he has touted train manufacturing as a way to offset the loss of jobs at the GM plant in Janesville. Instead, Governor Doyle’s actions may result in a net loss of existing long-term jobs in Wisconsin in exchange for 80 temporary jobs that will cost taxpayers over half a million dollars each.

Government does not create jobs, people do.  Through their ingenuity, hard work and determination, the people of Wisconsin have made our state a great place to live, work and raise a family. Our companies are recognized as world leaders in everything from manufacturing motorcycles to making a better bovine. Our people are renowned for their Midwestern work ethic.

If elected Governor, I will make it my first priority to help companies maintain and grow good paying jobs right here in Wisconsin.  Jobs that will stand the test of time, jobs that will survive an economic downturn, and jobs that do not rely on taxpayer subsidies or government mandates.

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Scott Walker