Sunday, February 05, 2006

Democratic governor calls on Bush to aid manufacturing


Democratic governor calls on Bush to aid manufacturing

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — President Bush's policies have abandoned workers dependent on manufacturing jobs, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Saturday in the Democrats' weekly radio address.

Granholm called for changes in trade agreements, health care policy and other reforms she said would help businesses, especially automakers crucial to her state.

She said Bush did not offer much help to them in his State of the Union address Tuesday. Then, directing her comments to him, she said:

"So, on behalf of citizens in Michigan and around the country — citizens who may or may not share your views of the state of our union — I ask you, with due respect, to fight for them. Fight for fair trade. Fight for our manufacturers. Fight for our automakers. Fight for our American workers."

Granholm said U.S. businesses need the federal government to enforce international trade agreements, help curb the rising cost of health care and protect pensions.

And she noted that Americans are being squeezed by the high price of gasoline and home heating fuel.

Michigan has been hard hit by a sluggish economy, in part of because of the auto industry's woes. The state's December unemployment rate, 6.7%, was one of the highest in the nation.

Bush unveiled a $5.9 billion "American Competitiveness Initiative" in his State of the Union address.

The plan proposes to bolster basic research at government laboratories, improve math and science instruction in public schools and stimulate corporate technological innovations.

The proposals seek to position America against fast-growing economies like China and India, which place high emphasis on math and science education.

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