AUBURN — Today, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, will join Governor Janet Mills and President Joe Biden at Auburn Manufacturing, Inc.
Auburn Manufacturing is a leading manufacturer of advanced textiles for extreme-heat environments located in Auburn. The company has experienced direct harm caused by unfair foreign markets and the lack of support for American manufacturing.
President Jackson has been a fervent champion of policies that support Maine workers and American manufactured products. He has introduced Buy American, Build Maine legislation in at least three different legislative sessions. The most recent proposal passed both the Senate and the House but was vetoed by the governor in 2021. A similar proposal was vetoed by the previous governor in 2013.
Kathie Leonard, CEO of Auburn Manufacturing, has spoken out in support of President Jackson’s efforts, saying in written testimony, “We see this legislation as a further rebuilding effort of the Buy American Act, essential to our national security and to those who are part of that US workforce here in Maine.” She also authored an op-ed in support of a previous iteration of the measure.
In 2017, Auburn Manufacturing won a landmark lawsuit against China for unfair international trade practices or what’s known as “anti-dumping laws.” Essentially, Chinese manufacturing companies financially backed by the government rigged the market in an attempt to monopolize an entire industry. By flooding the market with products at prices well below the market rate and the cost to manufacture goods, and operating at a financial loss, these companies tried to push American competitors, like Auburn Manufacturing, out of business.
“Buy American” policies have been in place at the federal level dating back to 1933. In 2021 President Biden signed an Executive Order in strengthening “Buy American” policies across the federal government. Later that year, the Biden Administration unveiled the “American Jobs Plan” and proposed new rules that strengthened the Buy American Act, increasing the amount of American-manufactured goods purchased by the federal government and closing existing loopholes in the federal policy.
President Jackson will continue to push the state to adopt Buy American, Build Maine legislation. The Legislature voted to carry over the most recent iteration of his proposal to the legislative session that begins in January.