Pence Focuses on Mining, Industry in Duluth Speech

Baihly Warfield
Updated: August 09, 2018 10:01 AM

DULUTH, Minn. - With a rock crusher as a backdrop, Vice President Mike Pence touted what the Trump administration's policies have done for mining and other industries in northeastern Minnesota. 

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"Mines across the Iron Range are hiring again, they're ramping up their capacity again," Pence told a crowd of about 100 people. 

In Pence's speech at Industrial Weldors & Machinists on Wednesday afternoon, he said what is happening on the Range is indicative of a national trend.

"American steel mills are coming back. They're hiring again, they're expanding again," Pence said. "And they are hungry for Minnesota iron."

Kelsey Johnson, president of the Iron Mining Association, said other businesses in the Duluth area and region are seeing the trickle-down effect of the mining turnaround. 

"Manufacturing and mining kind of go hand-in-hand," Johnsons aid. "This is a machinist and welders company, but it's a component of the overall mining industry."

Pence commended IWM for being a family-owned business built on three generations. He said President Trump's tax cuts are allowing companies like IWM to reinvest in their people and plants. 

"In fact, I'm told that following the president's tax cuts, IWM has been reinvesting in their people, and this is a company that actually gave its welders an extra $4,000 a year for their pension," Pence said. 

He told the crowd that he and the president are just getting started, promising that Trump will rescind a ban on mining and exploration on federal lands in northeastern Minnesota. 

"We are clearing the way as we speak for new mines to bring not just Minnesota iron, but nickel and copper forward for the American economy," Pence said. 

Some of the about 100 supporters had also been to Trump's rally in June. 

"We had a lot of fun," Fred Zorn said of the Pence event. "And we had a lot of fun at the Trump rally before. And we'll do it again."

Sharon Zorn, a Cotton resident, said they hadn't attended a rally before, and she enjoyed the Pence speech since it was a smaller crowd. She shook Pence's hand afterward.

"I told him that we pray for him and for the president all the time, and he said, 'We can feel it. Thank you,'" Zorn said.

Pence ended the speech with a reminder that not only does the White House need support in the form of votes but also from members of Congress. He encouraged them to vote for Republican candidate Pete Stauber in the 8th congressional district. 

The primary is less than a week away on Aug. 14. Stauber faces a challenge from Republican Harry Welty, who does not support President Trump. 

There are five Democrats in the primary:

  • Kirsten Kennedy
  • Michelle Lee
  • Jason Metsa
  • Joe Radinovich
  • Soren Sorensen

Ray "Skip" Sandman is also running for the Independence Party, but he will not be on the primary ballot.


Baihly Warfield

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