NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP, MIch. (WLUC) - Congressman Jack Bergman met with local business owners and managers during a tour of Miller-Bradford & Risberg Inc. in Negaunee Township on Tuesday. Associated Equipment Distributors, who represents about 700 heavy equipment dealers in the country, including Miller-Bradford & Risberg, set up Tuesday's meeting with the congressman to give him a chance to see what the facility does.
"It's critical for infrastructure issues,” said AED Communications Specialist Scott McPherson. “So we want to make sure that members of congress are focusing on that, passing an infrastructure bill at some point. I know they're working hard on that, but we want to make sure they know that these are jobs where actually the rubber meets the road or the shovel meets to ground and this is where America works."
Those in attendance voiced their concerns with the nation’s infrastructure, and how those problems impact business in the U.P.
Congressman Bergman says infrastructure reform is no easy fix.
"What is going to be the plan for infrastructure in this country, as we talked about, it's going to be between the federal government, the states, the local entities, and private business to make sure that they get the deal right," said Bergman.
Another major talking point was trade. President Trump announced the United States, Mexico, Canada agreement on Monday that would replace NAFTA. It's a deal that expands upon and reforms NAFTA, and all three nation leaders believe it will lead to increased jobs.
Bergman said, "Monday was a great shot in the arm for the United States of America prioritizing American jobs, especially when it comes here in Michigan to agriculture, dairy, and manufacturing. They all benefit immediately."
Congressman Bergman also acknowledged that the U.P. does have many job openings in those fields, but not enough skilled workers, and offered what he hopes is a solution.
"I really believe we need to focus more in high school on our technical education so that the young boys and girls see the opportunity of what it is to work outside, to work with big machinery," said Bergman.
Bergman is currently running for re-election to Michigan's 1st District against Democratic challenger Matt Morgan. Election Day is November 6, and the final day to register is October 9.