V.P. Harris, Tammy Baldwin tout high speed internet project in Wisconsin

Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Wisconsin Thursday to announce a new project she and the Finnish telecom company Nokia say will create up to 200 new jobs at a Kenosha County manufacturing plant making fiber optic products to be used in a nationwide expansion of high-speed internet. 

Speaking from a podium inside the Sanmira Corporation electronics manufacturing plant in Pleasant Prairie, a suburb of Kenosha, Harris was  joined by Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin.

“For years manufacturing was the foundation of the economy here in Kenosha,” Harris said. “Manufacturing jobs created opportunity and prosperity, and helped generations of working families thrive. Then in the 1990s as a result of global economic trends, and frankly, short-sighted national economic policy, American manufacturing began to falter and thousands of good, steady jobs right here in Kenosha were shipped overseas.”

The deal between Nokia and Sanmira will mean an expansion of the Pleasant Prairie plant to build equipment for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program (BEAD), established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (also known as the bipartisan infrastructure law) signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021.

Harris credited Sen. Baldwin’s work on the infrastructure law, and her efforts “to create jobs, expand opportunity and strengthen the American economy,” including through a $65 billion federal investment in high-speed internet using materials and products made by American workers.

“So much of this project is due to the advocacy of Sen. Baldwin,” Harris said. “These ‘Made in America’ requirements were a priority for her.  And for any of you who know her personally, when she’s got a priority in mind, you will hear about it until you do something about it.”

Tammy Baldwin tours Franklin Electric plant in Madison | Wisconsin Examiner photo

“In Wisconsin, we make things,” Baldwin said in a statement. “We have a long and proud manufacturing history, and I am thrilled that with today’s news, that legacy will continue into the future.”

Harris’s visit was part of a nationwide push to promote what her administration is calling “Bidenomics” — a “larger strategy,” Harris said, “to invest in the working people of America” by supporting U.S. manufacturing, infrastructure repair, clean energy production and an ambitious goal to connect every U.S. household with high-speed internet service. 

Harris wrapped up her remarks by emphasizing strong job creation and employment numbers during the Biden administration, as well as a recent expansion in U.S. manufacturing. She underscored her theme of an economic approach focused on the “working people of America” as opposed to corporations and the wealthy who, she said, are the only beneficiaries of “trickle-down economics.”

Harris ended with a shout-out to Wisconsin’s unionized workforce, including members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) “who will install EV chargers along I-94,” and the laborers “who will upgrade six bridges along John Nolen Drive in Madison — where I once lived, by the way.” (Harris lived in Madison briefly as a child while both of her parents taught at the University of Wisconsin).

After the event in Kenosha, Harris was scheduled to attend a fundraising event for the Biden Victory Fund in Milwaukee at the home of Milwaukee Bucks executive and former Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Alex Lasry.



originally published at https%3A%2F%2Fwisconsinexaminer.com%2F2023%2F08%2F03%2Fv-p-harris-tammy-baldwin-tout-high-speed-internet-project-in-wisconsin%2F by Ruth Conniff

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