The president-backed bailout of Chrysler last year allowed the car manufacturer to shutter its Kenosha plant and move the jobs to Mexico. That has liberals and conservatives asking questions about Obama's commitment to jobs in southeastern Wisconsin.
The liberal Capitol Times in Madison said Obama should address the Chrysler decision during his visit to Racine. They write:
We do wish he would explain to the people of southeast Wisconsin why his auto industry bailout plan - which he and so many Wall Street players hail as a success - helped pay for Chrysler's plan to shutter factories in U.S. communities and relocate work to foreign countries.
That's what happened to Kenosha, Racine's neighbor city, which was not "rescued" by the bailout but instead was devastated when Chrysler announced it would stop production in the city. The plant, with roots in Kenosha that go back more than a century, has been fully modernized and is ready to produce state-of-the-art engines.
Republican State Senate candidate Van Wanggaard jumped in this week, asking Obama to explain the Kenosha Chrysler decision and his administration not to support Milwaukee-based Bucyrus's efforts to build a power plant in India. Wanggaard called the decisions "ridiculous" and "devastating."
Obama's visit Wednesday is something of a mystery. The J-S is reporting no one is sure why Obama chose Racine to hold his second town hall meeting on the economy. "Candidly, I don't know why he's coming to Racine," Racine Mayor John Dickert told the J-S.
These two unfortunate situations are similar in that the federal government played a direct role in facilitating massive job loss. What’s more upsetting is that in both cases, the administration displayed a disturbing attitude of disregard for the affected communities and our elected representatives who demanded answers.
Tickets to see Obama at Memorial Hall are available today starting at 10 a.m. at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. They are free and will be available until they run out. Obama is scheduled to start the Town Hall meeting at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.
Obama's visit to Racine in February 2008 drew about 1,500 people to Memorial Hall.