It’s bad enough that Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been a consistent voice of COVID misinformation throughout the pandemic.
Equally atrocious was the Wisconsin politician’s decision to ignore his vow to respect his previously announced self-imposed term limits and seek a third term in office in this year’s mid-term elections.
What is even more incomprehensible from the point of view of discerning political observers is how Senator Johnson intends to retain his Senate seat when he makes comments like he made yesterday at a “Parent Empowerment Rally” in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Johnson was discussing the recent news that one of his home state’s largest employers, the Oshkosh Corporation, was going to be manufacturing as many as 165,000 Next Generation Delivery Vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service and exporting those jobs to South Carolina rather than increasing their Wisconsin employment base.
Most local politicians, including his fellow Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin of the Democratic Party, have been demanding that the Oshkosh Corp. keep the jobs in their home state.
“To me, it’s simple — I want Oshkosh Defense to manufacture trucks in Oshkosh with Wisconsin workers,” Senator Baldwin staked her position in a press statement.
Senator Johnson, however, has a different perspective, one that many in his state see as totally inexplicable.
He refuses to try to convince the Oshkosh Corp. to abandon their Southern strategy in their manufacturing plans and keep the prospective jobs in the state that voted him to his powerful and prestigious Senate seat.
“It’s not like we don’t have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers,” Johnson told the attendees at the rally.
“I wouldn’t insert myself to demand that anything be manufactured here using federal funds in Wisconsin,” Johnson declared. “Obviously, I’m supportive of it. But in the end, I think when using federal tax dollars, you want to spend those in the most efficient way and if it’s more efficient, more effective to spend those in other states, I don’t have a real problem with that.”
Johnson’s position is not likely to be a popular stance among Wisconsin voters who, like most electorates, like to see their political representatives bring home the bacon to their home territories.
One of the many Democratic contenders for a chance to run against Johnson if he wins the backing of his party for a third Senate run, Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson, was flabbergasted by Johnson’s comments.
“He wants a third term and he just doesn’t understand economic development,” Nelson told The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal. “It’s mind blowing, breathtaking.”
Perhaps the only thing more appalling than Johnson’s accommodation to the Oshkosh Corporation’s plans to keep its profits high and its labor costs low by outsourcing the manufacturing jobs to South Carolina is the fact that the contract was awarded to the company by USPS Postmaster General Louis Dejoy to build an expensive new fleet of fossil fuel-guzzling delivery vehicles when the Biden administration has mandated that the federal government begin transitioning to cleaner electric vehicles to combat climate change.
Let’s hope that both Senator Johnson and the Trump-supporting Postmaster General are seeking new employment of their own by the end of this year.
Original reporting by Bill Glauber at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.