Gubernatorial Candidates Spar On Outsourcing

Home » Here and Now » All Episodes » Gubernatorial Candidates Spar On Outsourcing

Gubernatorial Candidates Spar On Outsourcing

Premiere Date: 
July 25, 2014

Both gubernatorial campaigns knocked each other this week for records on outsourcing jobs.

 

Episode Transcript: 

Frederica Freyberg:

Staying with the news on the Scott Walker/Mary Burke front, the political battle in Wisconsin over outsourcing jobs to other countries hit a fever pitch this week. The candidates for governor have been dueling for days over the issue of shipping state jobs overseas.

Announcer:

By making millions of dollars.

Frederica Freyberg:

Scott Walker unleashed an ad attacking Mary Burke for profiting from outsourcing jobs to China at her family-owned Trek Bicycles. His outsourcing skirmish even included billboards. Mary Burke responded with an ad defending Trek.

Announcer:

Making more bikes in the US than anyone.

Frederica Freyberg:

And chastising Governor Walker for awarding state tax credits to companies which outsourced jobs. In the midst of the ad wars, Trek Bicycle’s president, John Burke, took out a full-page newspaper ad defending his company. Late this week, with poll numbers even, Scott Walker continued to press the issue of outsourcing.

Scott Walker:

She wants voters to vote for her because she, as she says in her ads, helped build the company her family started into the company that it is today, but she doesn't want to take responsibility for parts of it as well. This is a company, as we’ve clearly pointed out, has taken taxpayers-- She personally profits from them. She didn't just work there. She personally profits from, today, a company that ultimately took taxpayers’ money at the state level, sent jobs overseas to places like China where the average hourly wage is less than $2 per hour, a company that despite all the full-page ads in the newspaper. The bottom line is the facts are the facts, and the facts are that more than 99% of all the bikes they manufacture are made outside of the United States. When jobs are taken from places like those here in Wisconsin, the taxpayers of the state have to pick up the tab for retraining those folks. This has everything to do with looking at the full record, and particularly the hypocrisy of talking about things like raising the minimum wage when she, herself, personally benefits from a company that sends jobs to China, where the workers there on average make less than $2 as hour. Where her campaign about two weeks ago attacked Wisconsin businesses for taking taxpayers' money and then sending jobs overseas, yet she personally benefits from a company that does just that.

Frederica Freyberg:

Mary Burke had this response to the governor's comments.

Mary Burke:

He is just trying to distract from the fact that WEDC did award taxpayer money to companies that then turned around and outsourced jobs. And that's not serving the people of Wisconsin, it’s not being accountable to the taxpayer here. And when I'm governor I’m going to make sure that any awards we do we hold companies accountable for creating those jobs here in Wisconsin. Obviously, just trying to spin it. I think if any people who saw those ads that he placed would think that, that is an attack on Trek. Trek certainly feels it is an attack on them. And to take a great Wisconsin company that employs nearly 1,000 people in it and have the governor of the state attacking it just makes no sense at all. As governor, I want to make sure that the companies doing business here in Wisconsin feel that they are appreciated, that I'm working with them to grow jobs here in Wisconsin instead of attacking them.   I'm going to partner with companies to make sure we're growing jobs in Wisconsin. It is not a level playing field and there are disadvantages that American companies have that make it harder and harder to compete against other companies in low-wage countries. So as governor I want to fight to make sure that we have a level playing field and that companies like Trek can do as much manufacturing here competitively as they possibly can.   


We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your comment or story suggestion.

Get to know the Here and Now crew.

Find information on elections and candidates and connect to coverage from Wisconsin Public Television and Radio.