Mahoning Valley is open for business

DEAR EDITOR:

We received devastating news Monday. It’s not that we didn’t see it coming — with over 3,000 layoffs in the last two years, small car sales dropping and analysts calling for closure of at least two General Motors’ American car plants. But Monday we got news that we would be one of those plants.

GM made a business decision, now we as a community must choose how to respond.

We can be angry, we can shell up and sulk away … or we can be strong, we can be a community of action and we can take on the challenge before us.

I know what direction we will choose.

As hard as they may be to realize sometimes, there are tremendous opportunities before us.

Since January 2016, America has gained over 416,000 manufacturing jobs. This is incredible. We should do everything we can as a community to not just encourage GM to retool and reopen the Lordstown Facility, but also to attract new employers looking to grow their companies to one of the best communities in America.

Our community is a manufacturer’s dream. We are business friendly, have amazing access to highway, rail and air transit systems, ample land to build and grow, a diversity of power options and a workforce — with a work ethic — that is second to none.

The question isn’t “GM, why do you hate us?” but instead, “GM, how can we work as your partner to reinvest in the Lordstown facility and our community?” Let’s strive to be part of GM’s next generation. When GM looks to invest in its future, we work to be a part of that plan — coupling our workforce and technological capacity with their forward thinking investment strategy.

Since opening in 1966, there may be no car plant in America that has produced as many cars as GM Lordstown. Monday’s news is not the end of our journey with manufacturing in Northeast Ohio and may not be the end of our journey with GM either.

In 2007, the GM plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee, was idled and then retooled. In 2008, it began production of a new car, but by 2009 it was idled again. Through the work of UAW negotiators and local, state and federal officials, the plant was brought back on line in 2012, and Monday, while we in the Valley were reeling, GM Spring Hill received news that a third car would be added to their plant in 2019.

Our Valley will be strong with or without GM, and we are ready to get to work. That’s the message we need to send.

CHRISTOPHER DePIZZO

Cuyahoga Falls

DePizzo, a Youngstown native, was Republican nominee in this year’s 13th District Congressional race.