June 17, 2009

Congressmen will meet with Chrysler exec

In my old age, I've become pretty cynical about ... well, about most everything.

But especially about government. So when I see an obvious problem -- oh, the closing of Chrysler's Kenosha engine plant, for example -- and then see my elected representatives' efforts to solve it -- oh, writing a letter of protest to the company, for example -- I usually just mutter something unprintable and turn the page.

Well, now our Representatives are going to meet with Chrysler executives. That'll solve everything.

Um, didn't they just meet last week with GM about keeping the Janesville truck plant open? Yes.

None of this venting is meant to imply there's an easy answer. On the one hand, these are businesses that ought to operate profitably. On the other, government has been known to throw a few crumbs in their direction, to sweeten the pot, provide jobs and economic development. Which is why Gov. Doyle today slipped an envelope into GM execs' pockets, hoping to out-bid at least two other states wanting an operating car factory. As yet, no word what was in the envelope, but bidding was thought to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Here's the press release on our reps' Chrysler sit-down. Don't stop looking for work.
WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold and Representatives Paul Ryan and Gwen Moore will meet with Chrysler Group LLC Deputy CEO Jim Press in Washington on Thursday, June 18th, at 2 pm eastern time regarding the future of the engine plant in Kenosha. The meeting will take place in Kohl’s Senate office in room 330 of the Hart Senate Building.

The Kenosha plant is scheduled to shut down in October of 2010. This meeting will give the delegation the opportunity to talk to Chrysler and make the case for keeping the Kenosha plant open.

Last month, Wisconsin Congressional delegation members called on the Chair of the Automotive Task Force at the Treasury Department to employ a Department of Energy (DoE) technology program to keep the Kenosha Chrysler plant open. The DoE’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program provides grants and low-interest loans to help U.S. automakers retool existing factories to produce fuel efficient engines and parts. Last year, Congress appropriated $25 billion for this program.

The letter our reps wrote them is here.


  1. Let's hope for the best. Thank you for trying to save the Chrysler plant and jobs.

  2. Why not talk to Nardelli himself? He is a former Racine resident and ex-Case (CNH) executive.

  3. Nardelli has nothing to do with the new Chrysler. Mr. Marchionne makes all the calls and he is ruthless. In the next 12 months you will not be able to recognize Chrysler - Marchionne will bring in all his Italians to run the place.