WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 17, 2010, 08:24 AM

Sen. Conrad pushing for legislation to maintain production

Gwinner, ND (WDAY TV) - With hundreds of layoffs, a plant closure in Bismarck, and now 100-new positions opening up in Gwinner, Bobcat has been down a rocky road. North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad is calling for some legislative changes to make sure the new jobs are permanent.

Senator Conrad joined Bobcat executives on a tour of the 700-hundred thousand square foot Gwinner plant tonight. He is pushing for some new legislation to make sure the jobs in Gwinner and through out North Dakota don't go away.

Mark Lemuex: “Oh its real important, it’s a big thing down in this area.”

Nearly 1-thousand people have a job at the Bobcat plant in Gwinner, including Mark Lemeux who has worked here for 21-years.

Mark Lemiuex: "It was a little tough at times for a little while."

The economic downtown decreased credit lending from banks. That made it difficult for businesses, and people looking to buy Bobcat products.

Touring the Gwinner plant, North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad says he sees tremendous growth. But in order to keep jobs the banks ability to increase lending to consumers is critical.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "It’s also, I believe, a matter of continuing to focus on those things that will generate jobs. So the manufactures tax credit for example that we are pushing now, the small business package that we just got though the Senate.”

The two bills, which Conrad is backing, aims at giving manufactures tax incentives to maintain production and keep jobs.

Sen. Kent Conrad: "The critical thing is that the recovery needs to take hold and that the recovery goes even better from here."

Knowing the economy is far from healed workers like Mark Lemeux remain skeptical of a recovery that's slow to come.

Mark Lemieux: “After everybody just getting hired back on and now they're hiring more its kind of scary situation knowing, wondering what is going to happen."

Bobcat says they have filled most of the 100-positions they have opened at the plant in Gwinner. They are still accepting applications.