Jim Zawacki, chairman of a metal-stamping manufacturer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was apologetic but firm as he doled out some “straight talk” to John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, at a town hall meeting this week.
Though Mr Zawacki has donated $1,000 […] to the Arizona senator’s campaign, he said he disagreed with Mr McCain’s commitment to free trade and challenged his suggestion that Michigan’s staggering 8.5 per cent unemployment rate could largely be fixed by retraining displaced workers at community colleges.
“Where are you going to find teachers to teach them? What we need to do is control some of these trade issues. What we are asking for is fair trade,” he said.
Mr McCain has admitted he has “a lot of work to do” to win over the likes of Mr Zawacki. This week, he travelled from Ohio to Wisconsin to persuade voters to reject “isolationism” in favour of an economic agenda centred on tax breaks for small businesses, free trade and cuts in government spending.
Many Republicans are betting their candidate’s message will resonate in the home state of the big three US car manufacturers.
Jim isn’t against Free Trade, but he wants it to be fair trade. Like most small stampers, he’d be OK with free trade on a level playing field.