Walz visits Winona company to discuss economic growth

WINONA, Minn. — With the downturn in the economy, manufacturing companies took one of the biggest hits and many are still struggling. So what can be done to keep people working and get others back into the workforce?

Minnesota Congressman Tim Walz visited United Machine and Foundry in Winona Thursday to hear first hand from business leaders about how to grow our economy.

One of the main topics of discussion was the proposed six-year highway bill and how its critical to long-term growth.

United Machine Foundry’s president Tom Renk can see the changes that need to be made not only for his business to survive in the future, but also to the local community.


“Two years ago we struggled. Some of the markets in power generation have been soft. Trying to find good people hiring good people has been tough, but now it’s moving in the right direction,” said Renk.

With road construction and rebuilding being the main part of United Machine and Foundry’s business, the proposed six-year highway bill would help fund new projects for years to come. Something Congressman Walz sees as a necessity to get the economy moving again.

“More importantly I talk about the sense of confidence in America to see American innovation and manufacturing happening at a time when everybody thinks every job is going overseas, there’s no chance, these guys are actually doing it,” said Congressman Tim Walz.

Of course the major problem for the bill is funding.

“I think it’s absolutely appropriate to ask where are my tax dollars going how are they being spent. I think it’s also absolutely important to ask why are our bridges collapsing, why are we letting our roads crumble, why are we letting places like this go out of business because they’re not being able to build anything,” said Walz.

For Renke’s business and many others, they see the highway bill as vital to their success in the future.

“If they pass this road bill, it’s going to be stability coming out of Washington to fund our infrastructure plan and that’s going to help us by creating jobs and making parts for these machines to build roads,” said Renk.

Congressman Walz says he’s going back to work now to share with other policy makers what he’s learned and to hopefully continue the move on this bill.