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Published: Monday, 3/31/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Ohio, Michigan carry weight on auto caucus

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
Levin Levin
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Ohio and Michigan are well represented in the U.S. Senate Auto Caucus, with senators from the two states co-chairing the 13-member group.

Portman Portman
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Sen. Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, co-chairs the group along with Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio, is the group’s vice chair.

The Senate Auto Caucus kicked off with its first meeting last week.

A spokesman for Mr. Portman said the caucus provides a forum for senators to discuss policy issues including work force development, regulatory issues, safety, technology, and fuel efficiency.

The senator’s office says Ohio is the second-biggest auto-producing state in the nation.

“At the kick-off event, which was attended by hundreds of auto stakeholders, Senator Portman talked about Ohio’s crucial role in the auto industry, especially in the Toledo area,” said Christyn Keyes, a spokesman for Mr. Portman.

The caucus includes senators from 10 states, including both from Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, and South Carolina, where BMW announced it would invest $1 billion and hire 800 workers.

“America’s auto industry employs eight million Americans and drives more than $735 billion into the economy annually,” Mr. Portman said in a statement. “I’m pleased to join my colleagues in promoting policies that will help ensure the auto industry continues to grow.”

About 8 million U.S. jobs are directly or indirectly dependent on the auto industry.

“Manufacturing is the path to the middle class for millions of Americans, and the auto industry is the heart of American manufacturing,” Mr. Levin said in a statement. “The Auto Caucus will help us stay focused on helping advance the U.S. auto industry renaissance that is so important to millions of families and countless communities across the country.”

Mr. Portman also praised the recent announcement by Ford that the company would spend $500 million at its Lima Engine Plant.

“We’re proud that Ohio is the second-largest auto-producing state in the entire country, and I’ll continue my work as co-chair of the Senate Auto Caucus to bring jobs to Ohio,” Mr. Portman said.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134 or on Twitter @BladeAutoWriter.



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