Wisconsin’s Sen. Johnson not fighting to get Oshkosh Corp’s South Carolina jobs

U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)
U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin)(WEAU)
Published: Feb. 7, 2022 at 10:18 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2022 at 8:40 PM CST
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin says he’s not fighting to persuade Oshkosh Corp. to locate 1,000 jobs in his home state rather than South Carolina.

His remarks at a news conference Saturday provided an opening for Johnson’s Democratic challengers to accuse the two-term incumbent of being out of touch with the needs of Wisconsin.

Johnson said he was not trying to get Oshkosh Corp. to put the jobs in his hometown of Oshkosh as part of a multibillion-dollar contract the company won last year to build new delivery vehicles for the U.S. Postal Service.

The company announced in June that the vehicles would be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

“Obviously I’m always supportive of manufacturing here in Wisconsin but at the same time I recognize that manufacturing have different capabilities elsewhere,” said Johnson.

He went on to say, he would not work to persuade the company to produce the vehicles in Oshkosh.

Johnson added, “It’s not like we don’t have enough jobs here in Wisconsin. The biggest problem we have in Wisconsin right now is employers not being able to find enough workers.”

In a tweet Monday, Johnson said he was referring to the worker shortage in the state many businesses are now facing, adding that the “liberal media has taken my remarks and spun them.”

With a potential of a thousand jobs at stake, many Democrats disagree.

“That’s why today I sent a letter calling on the leadership at Oshkosh Defense to make those trucks right here in Wisconsin. If Ron Johnson won’t do it I will,” said Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, who is running for US Senate.

Tom Nelson’s campaign also responded with a billboard along Interstate 41 in Oshkosh, Johnson’s hometown.

“There’s a scenario where maybe one manufacturing job, one Oshkosh Truck job can support three or four other jobs in the community. Now you’re not talking about one thousand jobs, you’re talking about three thousand or four thousand jobs,” said Nelson who is also a candidate for US Senate.

All of this, after an EPA report last week saying that the USPS contract doesn’t do enough to address climate change, since only ten percent of the trucks would be electric.

The Biden administration is now threatening court action that could delay the trucks from being built anywhere.

Oshkosh Corporation has indicted that a greater portion of the trucks can be electric if requested by the Postal Service.

So far they’ve said very little about why South Carolina was a better choice for production.

Jason Zimmerman talks about Ron Johnson's response to criticism over his answers about Oshkosh Corp. and jobs building the new postal trucks.

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