Observer & Eccentric: Peters: ‘We can compete with anyone’
U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Michigan, gave a major shout-out to the state’s labor force Monday as he toured the floor of the North American International Auto Show.
“When I go to the West Coast, I’ve had the privilege of traveling through Silicon Valley and seeing high-tech and touring some of the businesses there,” Peters said. “And when I go there, the thing that strikes me is everything I see there we have here in Michigan.
“So we can compete with anyone in this country. We can certainly compete with anyone in the world – and most folks don’t realize the talent we have here in southeast Michigan.”
Peters happened to be touring the Chrysler display when he talked about President Obama’s decision to go forward in 2009 with the bailout of Chrysler and General Motors.
Peters himself played a key role in making sure Chrysler was a part of the bailout. He was serving in Congress and the Chrysler headquarters in Auburn Hills was in his district. Peters said the popular sentiment at the time was to bail out General Motors, but not Chrysler.
“I fought that very aggressively and thankfully the president also agreed that Chrysler should also receive the loans that were necessary to keep it alive,” Peters said Monday. “And now, when you look at the display here and automobiles that are being made in Michigan and across the United States and all the folks who are employed – not just Chrysler jobs, but all the auto suppliers who supply the parts and pieces that go into an automobile – it was the right thing to do and it was an incredible success.”
Peters joined Obama on Air Force One last week as they flew to Michigan to tour the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Wayne.
“I was very pleased to fly in with him on my first full day as a senator to talk with him about the auto industry,” Peters said. “He’s a big believer in the domestic auto industry and will continue to be very supportive. … We talked quite a bit about Michigan and some of the things that are happening here and he was very curious as to how the state’s economy is going.”
Peters also talked about changes within the industry, how it’s moving from a factory floor to a computer screen.
“Now you’re seeing where the industry going and it’s very exciting,” he said. “It’s not just about the mechanical part of the car – the engine, the horsepower, the fuel economy – we’re now seeing how computers and apps are coming into these vehicles. They’re totally integrated vehicles using very high-tech applications to give drivers incredible experiences and information at their fingertips while they’re driving. It’s probably the next frontier for automobiles and U.S. automakers are really leading that charge.”
On that note, Peters said the auto show is the perfect showcase to display that talent.
“We’re blessed here in southeast Michigan to have more engineers per capita than any other region in the country,” he said. “Most people around the country don’t realize the incredible talent pool we have in this area. And because we have that incredible resource, it will bring even more business into our area.
“If you have engineers that understand how to bring in those kinds of apps into automobiles, you don’t have to stop with automobiles. You can also jump-start a lot of other industries and other types of high-tech applications.”
Source: Observer & Eccentric