LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – As expected, reactions have been coming in from Trumbull County’s elected leaders regarding the tentative sale of the GM Lordstown plant.
It could be the silver lining to a dark cloud hanging over the Lordstown complex. For the elected officials we talked to on Wednesday, it’s welcome news.
“This is huge for Trumbull County. This is exciting news,” Sen. Sean O’Brien said.
Although nothing is finalized at this point, O’Brien said the potential sale of the GM Lordstown complex to Workhorse looks positive. The Cincinnati-based company manufactures electric-powered delivery and utility vehicles.
“A very promising opportunity for the Valley,” O’Brien said. “We can take a plant that’s out there, that is idle right now, and turn it into a very productive, very efficient facility.”
He said if the sale goes through, it could possibly bring hundreds of jobs to the area initially and greatly increase depending on ongoing contract negotiations.
Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka echoed that excitement.
“It looks like this, God willing, will come to fruition,” he said. “We’ve been devastated with some families having to move and relocate so, hopefully, this will be a little shot in the arm.”
Even President Trump took to Twitter about it Wednesday morning.
“Obviously, if the president is tweeting about it, he’s very supportive of it,” Polivka said.
Congressman Tim Ryan said there’s not a whole lot of short-term benefits for the workers impacted by GM Lordstown being idled, especially since it’ll take a while to finalize the deal and retool the plant for Workhorse’s production. In the long run, though, he said there’s potential.
“It’s in the electric vehicle market, which…has a lot of potential,” Ryan said. “The short term is bitter and it’s a start-up company, so we don’t know which way it’s gonna go but the potential is there for this to be a really positive thing for the community in the years to come.”
Ryan said he talked to current and former executives with Workhorse on Wednesday about what they may need to bring their plans to fruition and possible tie-ins between the new company and the additive manufacturing center in downtown Youngstown.
Sen. Rob Portman said he wants to see a “future-oriented company” come in, bringing more jobs.
“I hope that’s what this is, but we’re going to look at it. We’ll analyze it carefully. I want to thank President Trump because I think he helped put Workhorse and GM together, as I understand it, and that’s important, too.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown said it’s too early to know if selling the facility to Workhorse would be a good thing:
“It’s still too early to tell whether the proposed sale of Lordstown is good news for workers there. Workhorse is a leader in electric vehicle manufacturing and we are proud to have them call Ohio home, but GM cannot shirk its responsibility to these workers. My number one job is always to fight for the best possible outcome for Ohio workers and that’s what I will continue to do as we learn more.”
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said it is not a day to celebrate yet, but a time to move forward.
“A lot has to happen. Obviously, the UAW needs to make a decision, in which they want to go in regards to this and for this really to work, it’s going to take the contract with the United States Post Office.”