Granholm Says Congress Must Act to Protect Jobs, Help Auto Industry

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

December 5, 2008

Governor's radio address reflects on automakers' plans

LANSING - In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said that the U.S. automakers have outlined a clear set of plans for how their companies will address the economic challenges they face, and in the process, help our nation become energy independent.  The governor reiterated her call for Congress to quickly approve the loans needed to protect jobs in the auto industry.

"The continued success of the auto industry is critical to this nation's economy," Granholm said.  "The industry supports millions of jobs across the country, including nearly 500,000 here in Michigan.  In addition to supporting millions of jobs, America's auto industry will play a key role in helping us achieve energy independence and maintaining our national security."

Granholm said that the news delivered by automakers this week was sobering.  Without immediate help, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler could be forced to shut their doors before the years end.  Granholm added that the automakers made it clear that with access to the federal loans they're seeking, the companies are prepared to make the changes needed to deal with the tremendous challenges the industry is facing.  But she was pleased to see that all three companies, GM, Ford and Chrysler, remain committed to advanced technologies, including battery, electric and hybrid technologies, and that they are on track and accelerating production of these kinds of cars and engines.

"We are committed to fighting to keep every job in Michigan," Granholm said.  "We already are the home of the R&D that is working right now on all those exciting new technologies, and we are working every day to ensure that the next battery and the next engine and the next vehicle are produced right here in Michigan."

The governor's weekly radio address is released each Friday morning and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state.  The address is available on the governor's Web site at (www.michigan.gov/gov) for download, together with a clip of the quote above.  The radio address is also available as a podcast on the Web site, as well as on iTunes and vi2a RSS feed for general distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers.

Links to the audio files and text of today's address follow.

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm
Radio Address - Auto Loan Proposals

Full:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov174_Full_258808_7.mp3
Edited:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov174_Edit_258810_7.mp3
Quote:  http://www.michigan.gov/documents/gov/Gov174_Quote_258812_7.mp3

This is Governor Jennifer Granholm.

This week, America's automakers returned to Washington with a clear set of plans for how these companies will address the economic challenges they face, and in the process, help our nation become energy independent.

The news that they delivered was sobering - without immediate help, GM and Chrysler could have to shut their doors before the year's end.  But they also made it clear that with access to the federal loans they're seeking, they are prepared to make the changes needed to deal with the tremendous challenges that the industry is facing.

The continued success of the auto industry is critical to this nation's economy.  The industry supports millions of jobs across the country, including nearly 500,000 here in Michigan.  In addition to supporting millions of jobs, America's auto industry will play a key role in helping us achieve energy independence and maintaining our national security.  For decades, we have been dependent on foreign oil that more often than not comes from dangerous and unstable parts of the globe.  Our automakers have made it clear that they are investing in the new green technologies that can end this dangerous addiction to foreign oil.

So I was pleased to see that all three companies - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler - delivered plans to Congress that will not only ensure their survival but that lay out clear paths to success.  All three companies are committed to advanced technologies, including battery, electric and hybrid technology.  They are on-track and accelerating production of these kinds of cars and engines.

General Motors will soon introduce the Volt - an electric car that can go more than 40 miles before it needs any gas.  Nearly three quarters of Chrysler's products will have improved fuel efficiency in 2009.  And Ford has proposed for a ground-breaking partnership between the automakers and their suppliers and government to develop new battery technologies here in the United States to help ensure that we don't replace our dependence on foreign oil with a new dependence on foreign batteries.

Clearly, the months ahead are going to be challenging as these companies continue through their restructuring and reducing capacity and eliminating brands and dealerships and, unfortunately, cutting jobs as well.  Here in Michigan, we understand the impact of these decisions better than anyone else.  But we also understand the incredible potential that these companies hold for innovation and growth in the future.  We know that with quick action from Congress, these companies can emerge from their current economic challenges stronger and more competitive.

And we are committed to fighting to keep every job in Michigan.  We already are the home of the R&D that is working right now on all those exciting new technologies, and we are working every day to ensure that when the next battery and the next engine and the next vehicle are produced…they are produced right here, in Michigan.

But none of this is possible if Congress does not act immediately.  Over the next few days, I will continue to do all that I can to encourage them, prod them, push them to act in the interest of our jobs, our energy independence, and the security of our nation.

Thank you for listening.

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