GOP forum hosted by noted outsourcer

Last modified: 4/25/2011 12:00:00 AM
As presidential campaigns swing into full gear in our first-in-the-nation primary state, one question all Granite Staters should be asking is, 'What is your plan to create jobs here in New Hampshire?'

Many presidential candidates will be participating in a forum Friday hosted by a group whose founder has literally won awards for outsourcing jobs to China. It is sadly ironic that the first major Republican presidential forum to be held in New Hampshire during the 2012 election cycle celebrates the downfall of the middle class.

New Hampshire has been hit hard by the national recession caused by Wall Street and banks run amok, but the recession only compounded the effect of jobs already lost to China. According to the Economic Policy Institute, New Hampshire lost more jobs to China per capita than any state in the entire country - more than 16,000.

I know this firsthand. My own firm, Suncook Woven Label Co. Inc., made clothing labels for fashion giants like Ralph Lauren, but we shuttered after our fashion company customers moved all of their manufacturing to China. Even though our high-tech company was doing the best work right here in New Hampshire, we couldn't compete with the low-wage labor our customers could find offshore.

They ran for the exits, taking over 60 good New Hampshire jobs with them.

Prior to trade law changes three generations of workers from some of the same families worked and prospered at the mill. Some owned homes in town. All had health, dental and disability benefits. We matched employee donations and purchased turkeys which we donated to the town welfare office at Thanksgiving. We collected toys for the less fortunate children in town at Christmas. We were a good citizen, one of the top jacquard weavers in the world, a safe place to work, an environmentally conscious concern.

In 1996 we were named a Small Business Administration business of the year for Central New Hampshire. In October 2001 we ceased operations.

Americans for Prosperity, the group hosting the forum, was founded by David Koch, one of the wealthiest men in America. He is the executive vice president and a board member of Koch Industries. In 2006 a key subsidiary of Koch Industries received the 'Outsourcing Excellence Award' for its work outsourcing work to China. This is just one example in a long list of the company's shipment of American jobs overseas.

Koch has been using his wealth and connections to influence politics - supporting tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and letting Wall Street run out of control. And to try to buy influence, he has given thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to our own Rep. Frank Guinta and Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

That Republican presidential candidates have chosen this forum to discuss jobs as the invitation suggests is an affront to Granite Staters who have lost their jobs as factories have shut down and moved offshore. That Americans for Prosperity would even think to bring their outsourcing advocacy to New Hampshire is insulting and completely out of touch with what's happening in our great state.

We can only hope that the presidential candidates participating will outline their realistic plans to create jobs here in New Hampshire - not in China. That's what Granite Staters want to hear.

(Jon Bresler lives in Bow.)

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