Entire Mich. delegation pushes GM to build plant in home state

The entire Michigan congressional delegation wrote General Motors Wednesday asking them to build their promised new plant in their home state.

The letter marks maybe the most concerted public effort by lawmakers to influence GM's actions while on government support since Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) convinced the company to keep open a service and parts operation in his district.

"As you engage in the process of determining which facility will assemble these new small cars, we want to emphasize how strongly we feel that Orion Assembly represents the best business choice for GM," the lawmakers said, referencing an idled plant in the far-fetched northern suburbs of Detroit.

GM had announced that it had narrowed its choices to Orion, Spring Hill, Tenn., and Janesville, Wisc. as its choices for locations to begin production of a small car for domestic consumption.

The lawmakers touted the proximity to GM's headquarters, the local workforce, and existing ties to the industry as reasons to locate production in Orion.

"No industry has been hit harder by the global credit crisis and economic downturn than the automobile industry, and no state has suffered as much as Michigan has," they said. "For all of these reasons, we believe that as GM invests in its future by opening a new, state of the art small car assembly facility, it is in the best interest of the company to build upon its one hundred years of shared history with Michigan and locate that facility at Orion Assembly."

Read a copy of the entire letter after the jump:

June 16, 2009

Mr. Frederick Henderson

President and CEO

General Motors Corporation
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48265

Dear Mr. Henderson,

We applaud General Motors and the United Auto Workers for coming to an agreement that includes a commitment by GM to produce small cars in the United States. We are particularly pleased that this commitment will allow GM to become the first automobile manufacturer to produce subcompact cars in the United States. We have great confidence that this type of bold, forward looking decision will be characteristic of the new GM approach and will allow it to be a global leader in every vehicle class.

As you engage in the process of determining which facility will assemble these new small cars, we want to emphasize how strongly we feel that Orion Assembly represents the best business choice for GM. As you know, the Orion facility has a number of strengths, such as proximity to the supply base, proximity to corporate headquarters in Detroit, energy savings from the use of landfill gas to power the plant, strong relations between local UAW leaders and plant management, as well as the large numbers of highly trained and highly skilled auto workers, engineers, and other critical employees in the area.

Just as important as any of these factors is another factor that you are considering - the impact on the surrounding community that would benefit from locating the new facility in Southeast Michigan. No industry has been hit harder by the global credit crisis and economic downturn than the automobile industry, and no state has suffered as much as Michigan has. Our unemployment rate, which is already the highest in the nation, will rise as a result of GM's recently announced factory closings. Seven of the 14 announced plant closings will occur in Michigan. Oakland County will be particularly hard hit with three facilities being closed and more than 6,500 UAW workers losing their jobs. GM's restructuring efforts will continue to result in layoffs and early retirement for thousands of white collar employees and will create uncertainty for thousands of employees at the region's many auto suppliers.

For all of these reasons, we believe that as GM invests in its future by opening a new, state of the art small car assembly facility, it is in the best interest of the company to build upon its one hundred years of shared history with Michigan and locate that facility at Orion Assembly. We believe that a new GM can emerge from this painful restructuring process stronger, more competitive, and with the potential to once again create enormous opportunity for millions - investing in the facility at Orion Assembly is an important part of that restructuring process.

Sincerely,

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Carl Levin
Congressman Gary Peters
Congressman John D. Dingell
Congressman Fred Upton
Congressman Mike Rogers
Congressman Dale Kildee
Congressman David Camp
Congressman Sandy Levin
Congressman Bart Stupak
Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Congressman Vern Ehlers
Congressman Mark Schauer
Congresswoman Candice Miller
Congressman John Conyers
Congressman Pete Hoekstra
Congressman Thaddeus McCotter