LANCASTER — It’s not every day that the Vice President of the United States attends a groundbreaking ceremony, but that’s what happened Tuesday morning in Lancaster.
Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Magna groundbreaking ceremony, and took time during the event to highlight the current state of the economy and to promote the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
The groundbreaking event was scheduled in highlight of a new manufacturing plant for Magna Seating, a division of Magna International Inc. The company expects the plant to provide more jobs for those living in southeast Ohio.
The completion of the manufacturing plant will give residents in the area the opportunity to apply for both skilled and unskilled labor positions. The company plans on hiring around 300 workers. In the United States, the company employs over 26,000 workers.
“This is, hopefully, a good start for a long term deal,” Magna International CEO Donald Walker told The Logan Daily News.
“It’s obviously a great honor, not only to have Vice President Pence but even for our own CEO, Don Walker, to come is not something that is typical for us,” Senior Manager Scott Worden said. “It’s a great event.”
There were more than 500 people who pre-registered for the event, according to Worden, with approximately 300-400 in attendance.
The groundbreaking took place on an empty lot located near one of the manufacturer’s facilities in Lancaster.
Before the Vice President took the podium, Magna executives and others spoke to the crowd. Walker, CEO of Magna International, addressed those in attendance about the importance of the creation of the new manufacturing plant.
“Very happy and proud to say that in the last 10 years (Magna International) has held an increase of employment of people in the U.S. by 14,000 people,” Walker stated.
Walker announced plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Lancaster. The plant will primarily focus on the construction of automotive seats for its global clientele. The facility will cover 150,000 square feet; and the company has invested $3 billion for investments in other facilities in the United States. The plant will use advanced robotic technology that will be used to make the car seats at the facility.
The first seats that will be made will go to a global client auto maker who plans on creating a new hybrid vehicle that will be coming to market, Walker stated. The company did not disclose who its global client is.
Walker thanked all those who were in attendance as well as those who helped organize the foundation of the new manufacturing plant including the local government entities who cleared the company to build its new seating facility.
“We are very proud to be here,” Walker said.
Walker finished his remarks by stating that the company is hopeful that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will be ratified by Congress. The hope is that the new agreement will be more competition to the market as well as job creation for people living in the United States.
Walker thanked the Vice President for being in attendance as well as being a big help in the USMCA debate. Walker’s remarks were followed by Congressman Steve Stivers and Deputy Secretary of Labor Patrick Pizzella — both stressed the importance of creating jobs within the United States.
“It’s so good to be with all of you, neighbors and friends, and especially my friend (Donald Walker) and all the men and women of Magna,” Vice President Pence addressed to the crowd.
Pence announced that this groundbreaking event marks the largest economic investment in Fairfield County in over two decades. He continued stating that since he and President Donald Trump took office, businesses large and small across the United States have created over six million new jobs including 87,000 “good paying jobs” within the State of Ohio.
“Since the beginning of our administration, President Trump has been fighting for American jobs,” Pence said. “And fighting to keep making cars right here in the heartland of America.”
Pence also stated that the Magna groundbreaking event is a sign that the economy is in a good place currently and that “American manufacturing is back.”
The Vice President continued his remarks by stating that the groundbreaking ceremony is happening under the backdrop of the USMCA debate. Pence stated that the administration has negotiated with Mexico and Canada regarding the agreement and he also stated that those administrations are on board with the agreement. Congress is now in negotiation with the current administration and Pence hopes that the agreement will be finalized by the end of the year.
“The USMCA treats the automotive industry fairly,” Pence said. “It’s going to be a win for American workers and American jobs and now we need Congress to get it done.”
Pence stated that part of the reason he was in Lancaster was to educate the importance of the agreement. He also encouraged those in attendance to talk about the event and the agreement deal with state officials. It was estimated by the International Trade Commission that the USMCA will add more than $68 billion to the United States’ economy as well as creating 176,000 jobs in America.
“We need (Congress) to act on it this year,” Pence said. “This state has so much to gain from the USMCA.”
Pence finished his remarks by once again thanking elected officials, Magna International and local officials for investing into the future of the automotive industry.
“Today’s investment is a testament to all of you,” Pence said.
Magna is an automotive supplier with over 330 global manufacturing facilities. It also has 89 product development, engineering and sales centers in 28 countries. The company also employs over 160,000 workers.
The company has deep roots in the automotive manufacturing industry; in 1957, the company began working with General Motors. The manufacturing company has been producing products for over 60 years. Today, Magna produces anything from seats to powertrains, as well as complete vehicles.
The automotive company, Magna International, is a Canadian based global automotive supplier. The headquarters is located in Aurora, Ontario. It is the biggest automotive supplier in North America.