WASHINGTON, D.C. - Webster City played prominently into a speech given by Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, on the U.S. Senate floor Wednesday.
Harkin discussed his views of what he said was a reckless and unbalanced U.S. House Republican budget proposal. Harkin talked about how middle- class Americans and towns across the country - like Webster City - would be impacted by the proposal.
"I have a simple test for judging any budget plan. What does that plan do to give hope and opportunity to middle-class Americans who have been hardest hit by the economic downturn?" Harkin asked on the Senate floor.
He went on to discuss the recent closing of Electrolux and the loss of many jobs in the community.
"To speak in terms specific to my state of Iowa, what did it do for Webster City? Webster City is a community like thousands of others across the United States. It is a town where middle-class families work hard, play by the rules, sacrifice for their children. But it is also a town where a decent middle-class way of life is threatened," he said.
Recently, in Webster City, the Electrolux plant that has been the town's economic engine for over 80 years closed its doors. Production was moved to Juarez, Mexico. In the final round of layoffs in March, 500 Iowans lost their well-paying, middle-class jobs."
Harkin said the Electrolux closing came on the heels of 222 plant closings in Iowa last year, with a loss of nearly 12,000 jobs.
" As we all know, each of these plant closures reverberated on Main Street, with many local stores and restaurants falling on hard times or going out of business themselves," he said. "Let's be clear, the wrong kind of budget plan, one that indiscriminately slashes funding for education and job training, infrastructure and research, will deepen the plight of Webster City and similar communities across America."
To view the portion of Harkin's speech about Webster City, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZI0SPxhyogw.