Local leaders say Pence may have ‘misspoken’ about Workhorse funding for GM Lordstown

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They say Pence may have been referring to the $25 million Workhorse secured in June to help with its own production

(WKBN) – There were a lot of questions Wednesday about Tuesday night’s comments from Vice President Mike Pence concerning secured financing for a new company taking over the General Motors Lordstown plant.

Whatever the vice president was trying to say, the area’s two state senators are headed to Cincinnati to find out for themselves.

State Senators Sean O’Brien and Mike Rulli — a Democrat and Republican — are working together by traveling to Cincinnati this Friday to meet with officials of Workhorse, out of which, a company has been formed to possibly make electric vehicles at the now-closed GM Lordstown plant.

“I want to be in that building. I want to see what’s going on. I want some answers,” Rulli said.

“We’re going to ask, ‘Have they received funding? What are their intentions? Have they worked out a deal with GM that maybe they’re going to build their electric truck?'” O’Brien said.

Pence was in Lancaster, Ohio, on Tuesday for the ribbon cutting of a new Magna Seating plant. Afterward, he was asked by reporters about the future of the GM Lordstown plant. His answer sparked concern and confusion on Wednesday.

“Well as you know, after GM made that announcement, President Trump made it clear he wanted to see GM do better. We’re pleased they stepped forward. Workhorse I learned just this week secured the financing to move forward to keep jobs in that community,” Pence said.

But O’Brien thinks the vice president may have misspoken, that he may have been referring to the $25 million Workhorse secured in June to help with this year’s production of its electric vehicles.

“Well, I think he got mixed up on some money that was released last month. I talked with General Motors about it, tried to find out. They have indicated that they have not heard anything,” O’Brien said.

Workhorse is a Cincinnati-based company that makes electric vehicles, including vans.

The United States Postal Service is considering replacing its fleet with electric vehicles, and there have been discussions that a company using Workhorse’s technology might make those vans at the GM Lordstown plant.

But so far, Workhorse lacks the money and a postal service contract.

“All of us know, who have researched this, that their finances are really not in order. So I hate to quote the movie but “show me the money.” How’s this going to come?” Rulli said.

A Workhorse spokeswoman had no comment on the vice president’s statement.

GM spokesman Jim Cain could only guess that maybe Pence misspoke, but he was also optimistic about GM’s dealings with the unnamed company looking to build electric vehicles in Lordstown.

“A tremendous amount of work has been done between GM, Workhorse and the new company. We are very much on plan. Things are moving forward in a very positive way,” Cain said.

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