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Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Voters want to talk about job creation and the economy. So why isn't that happening in Colorado?

Incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is running neck and neck with challenger Rep. Cory Gardner (R), who according to the polls is leading the race for Colorado's Senate seat by a mere 1 percent. To break the stalemate, Udall is turning to the national Democratic playbook to make outsourcing a top issue in the campaign.

The bulk of the electoral battle between Udall and Gardner has focused on issues such as women’s health, Obamacare, and Ebola. Yet our own polling indicates that American voters want to talk about job creation and an economic agenda that will promote manufacturing job growth.

Colorado is home to 136,500 manufacturing workers, but has lost more than 52,000 good-paying jobs since 2001. In addition, surging steel imports threaten more than 500,000 steel jobs in the United States, including the steel jobs in Pueblo, Colo., — a.k.a. “Steel City” — where workers have been melting and pouring since 1881.

With this many jobs at stake, shouldn’t the candidates be paying more attention to Colorado manufacturing?

Udall is attempting to sway voters by highlighting his job creation policies such as the Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2013 and his support of the Bring Jobs Home Act. Both bills promise to bring thousands of jobs back to the United States and Colorado — the Bring Home Jobs Act would close a tax loophole for companies that ship jobs overseas and provide tax incentives for companies that bring jobs to the United States.

These are great messages, but is Udall doing as much as he could for Colorado job creation? We think he could do more.

Example: Udall can help create 95,700 jobs by taking a stronger stand on currency manipulation.

When countries undervalue their currency and sell their products at artificially low prices, it drives American companies out of business. The result has been the loss of more than 2.7 million American jobs, with 2.1 million of those in manufacturing. Udall should demonstrate his commitment to Colorado jobs by cosponsoring the Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act of 2013.

This legislation would give domestic manufacturers and workers the ability to hold currency manipulators such as China accountable. Bringing the Chinese yuan down to its equilibrium level would yield economic benefits unmatched by any other policy. Over 18 to 24 months we would create 2.25 million American jobs, increase GDP by 285.7 billion, and lower the annual budget deficit by $71.4 billion. 

Meanwhile, what does Gardner have to say on the subject of American manufacturing job creation and currency manipulation? Not much. His voting history doesn’t say much more. Like Udall, Gardner has not cosponsored the House bill to stop currency manipulation.

With so much at stake in Colorado, how can the candidates pay so little attention to Colorado manufacturing?

Leading up to November’s midterm elections, the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is following how developments on the campaign trail could impact U.S. manufacturers and their workers. AAM is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse candidates — our goal is to highlight the discussion taking place.