AKRON, Ohio (WKBN) - Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said he came away from his meeting with General Motors CEO Mary Barra optimistic but said he didn’t have a “magic wand to wave and make things change.”
DeWine met with Barra during a private meeting at about 8 a.m. Thursday in Detroit. Speaking in Akron after the meeting, DeWine said the two had a good, candid discussion.
“We had a good conversation, a good introductory discussion. I wanted to establish that relationship. I wanted to urge her to look at putting another line in Lordstown and to go back to Lordstown with another product, and we would partner with her if that is the direction they wanted to go,” DeWine said.
While a large portion of the conversation was private, DeWine said he promised Barra that GM would have the full support of his administration if the company decided to send another product to Lordstown. And if not, the state would look to assist any other company looking to take up production there.
“I am optimistic they will work with us. We are working with the UAW. We are working with General Motors to see what best outcome is possible,” DeWine said. “I told her if that was not the way it was going to come down that we wanted also to be a partner in making sure another company came to that great facility."
Whatever happens, DeWine assured workers in Lordstown that his administration is ready to support them.
“I don’t have a magic wand to wave and make things change, but I do have the ability to put the full force of the state government behind our effort to help the workers in Lordstown and help the Mahoning Valley. It is vitally, vitally important,” DeWine said.
Earlier today, the Drive It Home Campaign sent a letter of support to Barra as she met with DeWine. The letter was co-signed by Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber President James Dignan and UAW Local 1112 Presdient Dave Green.
The letter said in part:
We thank you for meeting with Gov. Mike DeWine. The entire community has come together to work with General Motors to keep the Lordstown facility open. We have the hardest working, most productive people on the planet ready to help General Motors make the vehicles of the future.
"We have been part of the GM family for 53 years and we're ready for the next 53 years. We are optimistic that the meeting between you and Gov. Mike DeWine will demonstrate the state's commitment to a partnership that works for General Motors and keeps everyone working.
"We hope this is the beginning of an on-going conversation between you, General Motors, Gov. DeWine, the state of Ohio, the growing coalition of elected officials, business and labor leaders, and the hard working people in the Mahoning Valley.
Trumbull County commissioners said Thursday they sent a letter to Barra and her press secretary asking or a meeting, and that they are willing to offer tax incentives to GM.