Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), the longest serving woman in the history of the United States House of Representatives and Dean of the Ohio Congressional Delegation, sent the following letter to President Trump ahead of his trip to Toledo, Ohio.
The full text of Congresswoman Kaptur’s letter is below.
January 9, 2020
The Honorable Donald J. Trump, President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear President Trump,
I write to you ahead of your arrival in the great Heartland city of Toledo, Ohio – my lifelong home. Like all people, you are welcome here.
Toledo is a city of industry on the banks of Lake Erie surrounded by abundant fresh water and world class soils. We are known for our kind, industrious, generous, and patriotic people. They know what it means to work with their hands: to swing a hammer, turn a socket, grow soybeans, and repair a combine. Ours is the city where the mighty ‘Jeep’ has rolled off the assembly line every day since 1941. We are also the City that launched America’s leading solar energy company, First Solar. Our diverse city and people truly make America great.
Toledo reveres and champions the dignity of labor. Our motto is “Laborare est Orare,” To Work Is To Pray. While “work” is the means to a full and prosperous life, “prayer” imbues the worker with sacred dignity. Hardly anyone here was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Most have had to build the ladder upon which they have advanced their lives.
But Toledo is a far cry from the America you know best, for ours is a community well acquainted with struggle. Your home in Trump Tower sits along Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, among the wealthiest communities in the world where median incomes exceed $133,000 thanks to nearby Wall Street and Big Banks. Mar-a-Lago is similarly very wealthy. On the other hand, Toledo sits along the Maumee River, the largest river flowing into the Great Lakes. Our median household income is but $37,000/year. In fact, Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, gerrymandered to extremes by Republicans in Ohio’s state legislature, ranks 407 out of all 436 Congressional Districts, including Washington, D.C., in terms of household income.
Toledo is a place that has traditionally created wealth, not just traded money. We machine tools, forge America’s steel, manufacture vehicles, refine oil and gas, grow food, ship America’s goods, and research futuristic technologies. Nevertheless, Toledo’s economic struggle is real and ongoing. These industries have been severely challenged in a world created by and for wealthy investors, the beneficiaries of predatory economic practices and unfair trade agreements. Far too much of the wealth our community generates is extracted and traded away on Wall Street. More of our wealth needs to be invested locally.
In fact, Ohio has lost 286,332 manufacturing jobs — almost one in three — since NAFTA went into effect in 1994. Contrary to your claims, your tariffs and trade wars have failed to do anything to bring these jobs back. Nothing makes that clearer than the post-USMCA announcements made by U.S. auto companies that they plan to expand production in Mexico. GM is closing numerous U.S. plants, including in Ohio, while making popular models in Mexico. Ford is even making its new electric Mustang in Mexico – the first Mustang not to be made here in the U.S.
Toledoans are practical and expect more than your words, Mr. President. Your “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” has overwhelmingly benefitted the wealthiest Americans and multinational corporations at the expense of working people. Your policies exploded our national debt, further beholding us to overseas financiers like China and Saudi Arabia. You have waged war on affordable health care, hurting our families and medical facilities. You have proposed eliminating critical federal community and economic development funds to towns like Toledo. You unwisely proposed wholesale elimination of the vital Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a proposal Congress rightly rejected. You have contrived trade wars that hurt our businesses, workers and farmers here at home. You have not aided Toledo with emergency federal funds to address the fragile condition of Lake Erie in the wake of its clean water crisis, similar to your behavior toward Flint, Michigan. And, your Department of Energy chose to ignore the nuclear power plant financing crisis at commercial firms across our nation, like Davis-Besse here, while devolving the significant financing burden on States like Ohio that then imposed those heavy costs on local ratepayers.
As America falls deeper into financial debt and our budget and trade deficits soar at your hand, communities like Toledo are forced to sacrifice the most. With our labor and tax dollars, we pay the greater interest payments to foreign lenders who keep our nation financially afloat, even while our bedrock manufacturing jobs are pulled out from under us and sent to penny wage countries. This week, you put our sons and daughters in harm’s way when you abandoned diplomacy, rejected our allies, and escalated conflict in the Middle East and around the world. It causes one to wonder if anyone from the Trump family has ever served in the U.S. military or in a foreign war.
Mr. President, we live in a country whose private and public sectors too often serve the rich and powerful – not the average person, not the worker, certainly not the people of Toledo or communities like it. I wish you could tour our community with me. I could show you the struggle we face each day. It is struggle that cannot be understood from behind a podium in an arena, nor a tower in Manhattan, nor a golf course in West Palm Beach.
I urge you to take substantive action. Amend your tax and budget bills to put America’s financial house in order. Don’t borrow our way to prosperity. Help us earn it. Reward the middle class. Negotiate enforceable trade agreements that actually put workers first. Keep your promises to make health care affordable for everyone and lower the price of medicines. Keep your promise to introduce and pass a federal infrastructure jobs bill. Protect, don’t gut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Call on Mitch McConnell to pass the Butch Lewis Act to save the pensions of 60,000 Ohioans. These all are achievable.
As always, I stand ready to work with you and my Congressional colleagues on a bipartisan basis to improve the lives of Toledoans, people throughout Northern Ohio, and in communities across our great nation.