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July 31, 2023

Biden touts American manufacturing on Maine campaign stop

Katie Leonard Photo / Fred Field Kathie Leonard, president and CEO of Auburn Manufacturing Inc., which hosted U.S. President Biden on a campaign stop last Friday.

Auburn Manufacturing Inc. was in the national spotlight during a campaign stop by President Joe Biden, who touted his progress in getting the U.S. economy back on track.

He made a stop in Auburn, highlighting the work of Auburn Manufacturing Inc., which is based nearby in Mechanic Falls.  Auburn Manufacturing is a maker of heat-resistant high-performance textiles.

"America used to lead the world in manufacturing and we're doing it again," he told Friday's gathering at the Auburn industrial park.

Biden had arrived earlier in the day on Air Force One at Brunswick Executive Airport, accompanied by three of four members of Maine's congressional delegation.

"Auburn and Lewiston, right next door, used to be home of some of the country's largest textile mills," Biden said.

That all changed in the 1990s, when American textile production moved overseas and Bates Manufacturing closed up shop, he noted, noting that the same thing happened with Maine's iconic paper industry and in northeast Pennsylvania.

"Folks, this is what trickle-down economics look like," Biden said. "But now we're turning things around" by creating American jobs and exporting American products again. "That's how we make money."

He said the turnaround is exemplified by Auburn Manufacturing which weathered decades of economic storms and is now growing with products made in America, and is having the biggest export year with help from the American Rescue Plan.

He also pointed to a $1 million grant from the American Rescue Plan being used by Sappi North America to invest in technology and to improve pulp yields.

"Now they're expanding their business, creating hundreds of good-paying jobs," said Biden, who also spoke at a private campaign fundraiser in Freeport later on Friday.

Kathie Leonard, president and CEO of Auburn Manufacturing, said her company was humbled to have Biden in Auburn.

“President Biden’s visit to Auburn is truly a historic event, reminding all Americans that Maine is on the manufacturing map and that domestic manufacturers like us will never stop working hard and fighting back against even the fiercest competition," she told Mainebiz. "We look forward to even brighter days ahead for manufacturers across America.”

Leonard, honored as a Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year in 2018, won a second unfair trade lawsuit against China earlier this year.


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