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free trade

October 11, 2011 - 10:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in free trade, kathy hochul.

Press release:

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Kathy Hochul today spoke on the House Floor against the U.S.-Panama, U.S.-Colombia, and U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreements.

In her speech, Representative Hochul referenced a worker at the Buffalo Airport who had lost her job at a textile factory.

Below are Congresswoman Hochul’s prepared remarks:

“I’m here to stand up for the working men and women of the 26th District of New York. People like the woman at the Buffalo Airport who made my energy drink this morning. She told me she works there now after she lost her job of 23 years at a textile factory in downtown Buffalo. First, the jobs went South…and then overseas. As I left for my flight, she called after me, ‘keep fighting for our jobs…don’t forget us.’ Well, I won't forget her.

“If I thought any of these Free Trade Agreements would help people like the woman at the airport, I would be all in favor. But in Western New York, we know better. We were promised prosperity with earlier trade agreements; and while companies became more prosperous, the jobs were sucked away from our community, gone forever…to foreign shores.

“As they say in the immortal song made famous by The Who, we ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’

“I urge my colleagues to oppose these trade agreements.

“Thank you. I yield back the balance of my time.”

September 15, 2011 - 5:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Jack Davis, NY-26, free trade, kathy hochul.

Rep. Kathy Hochul will tour I Squared R Element in Akron at 11 a.m., tomorrow and meet with Jack Davis, the Tea Party candidate she defeated in May's special election to fill the NY-26 seat.

After the tour, according to a press release from Hochul's office, Hochul and Davis will "discuss America’s manufacturing strategy and the need to stop supporting companies that ship jobs overseas, as well as how to replicate Davis’s American success story throughout Western New York."

July 12, 2011 - 6:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in free trade, kathy hochul.

The Obama Administration is stepping up pressure on Congress to pass new free trade agreements, but Rep. Kathy Hochul (NY-26), elected to represent WNY in a special election a month ago, says she will stand by her campaign promise to vote against the proposed treaties.

In response to a question from The Batavian, her congressional spokesman, Fabien Levy, sent the follow message:

She still remains very opposed to all of the free trade agreements. I remember that during the campaign she went beyond your question on one free trade deal and answered it on all the free trade deals.  

Here's the question and answer Levy mentions:

Q: The next representative of the NY-26 is likely going to be asked on vote on the South Korea – United States Free Trade Agreement. If elected, will you vote “Yes” or “No.” After offering a straight up or down answer, please explain your yes or no vote.

A: No, I do not support the U.S./South Korea Free Trade Agreement. I also do not support the U.S./Panama or the U.S./Colombia Free Trade Agreements.

Millions of hard-working Americans have lost their jobs due to unfair trade deals like NAFTA and CAFTA and entering into additional free trade agreements will only further harm our economy. Instead of expanding trade policies that have resulted in thousands of good paying Western New York jobs being sent overseas, we need to focus on creating an environment that gives smalls businesses the opportunity to innovate and grow, right here in the 26th District.

Hochul's opponent, Jane Corwin, took a far less solid stand on trade issues, but did say during a campaign appearance in Batavia that she supported "fair trade" and wasn't a "protectionist."

Trade arguably played an important role in Hochul winning the election. Polls seem to indicate that voters switched support for the outspoken anti-free trade candidate Jack Davis to Hochul, rather than Corwin, in the final week of the election.

Related to Hochul's position on free trade last week, the newly minted representative supported measures to crack down on currency manipulation by China.

(Photo: file photo)

A full press release from Hochul's office on that issue after the jump.

May 11, 2009 - 6:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in economy, Wal-Mart, localism, free trade.

As a transplant to Western New York, my impression that WNY is a hotbed of anti-free-trade sentiment.

NAFTA is a dirty word in these parts.

Certainly, trade was a hot button issue in the 26th Congressional race last fall.

Yet, every time I drive past Wal-Mart or Target, or any of the other Big Boxes in Batavia, the parking lots are full.

I wonder how many people realize that Wal-Mart and its ilk are a bigger cause of good paying manufacturing jobs in the USA being shipped overseas than NAFTA?

Black and Decker, for example, started a process of closing factories in the U.S. in 2002 that lead over the next 24 months of 4,000 jobs lost. The tool maker was pressured by Home Depot and Lowes to lower prices and that could only happen by shifting manufacturing overseas. In 1990, Levi owned several factories in the U.S., which produced about 90 percent of the product sold under the brand. In an effort to meet the demands of Wal-Mart and Target for ever lower prices, Levi eventually shuttered all of it's U.S. plants and now out sources all of its manufacturing overseas. Twenty-five thousand people lost their jobs.

If you're anti-immigration, the next time you step into Wal-Mart, consider than some 40,000 jobs have been lost in Latin America since the mid-1990s as clothes making was shifted from those countries to China.

We all love low prices, but those prices come at a price (and Wal-Mart doesn't always have the lowest prices in town -- sometimes, the locally owned retailers meet or beat those prices).

I'm not sure we can reconcile being anti-free trade, and even anti-immigration, and do the majority of our shopping at big box stores.

Buying local keeps more local jobs in the local community and helps grow the local economy.  In current conditions, the big boxes can be unavoidable at times, but they should be a last resort.

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