Over 200 people packed the event and we would guess the audience was a pretty good mix of union workers, small manufacturers and the curious coming to hear Ratzenberger.
The event was sponsored by the Alliance for American Manufacturing a non-partisan, non-profit partnership made up of manufacturing corporations and the United Steelworkers.
The message of the evening was that people who are really interested in the economy and the future of this country need to hold the presidential and Congregational candidates feet to the fire as they "look the other way" as America outsources more and more jobs to Mexico, China and India. Ratzenberger pressed the audience to ask, and keep asking these questions of politicians seeking their vote:
- As President how will YOU save American jobs?
- What specific policies will you support to strengthen the American manufacturing base?
- What steps will you take to enforce our existing trade laws?
A panel (above) made up of the Mayor of Newton, a small business owner, a student in the DMACC tool and die program and a worker from Bridgestone/Firestone all commented on their personal experiences and the need to get involved.
Following the meeting dozens waited to meet and talk to Ratzenberger. Perhaps fans from "Cheers" and his show "Made in America"...but most were fans of the message they heard:
- 22,000 Manufacturing Jobs in Iowa lost since 2001
- 17,700 of them to China
- Protect Manufacturing - It is our heritage and future
Is it protectionist? Ratzenberger says, "Hell yes, and there is nothing wrong with protecting our country and our family. When are we going to get the guts to stand up for the American worker?"
I had my time with Ratzenberger and was amazed at how common a guy he is. He took the questions well. I was most impressed by his answer to my question: "John, do you feel like you are tipping at windmills, given all the money that is demanded by business who offshore their manufacturing to satisfy the demands of stock holders?" His answer: "Maybe, but that should not stop us from trying to bring back what made this country so great. If we don't it could very well end up being owned by somebody else. I don't want that for my kids...and I doubt you do either."
Well said John.
This Sunday morning at 8am we'll continue this discussion with Kerri Houston a policy annalist for the group on our Rural Lifestyle Radio Show, Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country on 98.3 WOW-FM. You can hear it at 8am Sunday.
A quick sidebar...the Des Moines Register must had thought the event was not worth a report. Other than a BLOG article in Thursday's paper...nothing. Makes one wonder...
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications