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Corky Messner, Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate, Backs Incentives To Restore Manufacturing Jobs

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Granite Staters are heading to the polls next Tuesday for New Hampshire's state primary election. There's still time to drop off an absentee ballot with a local town or city clerk if you need to if you can't get to the polls on Tuesday.

Today, we're talking with the Republican candidates running to represent New Hampshire and the U.S. Senate. Corky Messner from Wolfeboro is a military veteran and attorney who has pitched himself as a political outsider. 

COVID-19 Voting Guide: How To Vote in New Hampshire's Elections During the Pandemic

(This transcript was lightly edited for space and the web.)

Rick Ganley: Well, thank you for taking some time to talk with us this morning. What are your plans for strengthening the economy, given that we're now in a pandemic recession?

Corky Messner: I have a plan. It's called the Messner USA Plan. And USA stands for Unleashing the Strength of America. It's on my website at Corkyforsenate.com. And in that plan, we outlined many steps to strengthen the economy, including reducing taxes on small businesses, having a payroll tax holiday on businesses, also allowing businesses to accelerate depreciation on any equipment that they buy.

So there will be 100 percent expensing and then provide incentives to bring manufacturing back to the United States, a focus on American made, and then provide incentives to companies to move that manufacturing from China to the United States and additional incentive to have some of that manufacturing done here in New Hampshire and then the opportunity opportunity zones and in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Rick Ganley: Well, of course, President Trump has tried for the beginning of his administration to get companies to move manufacturing back, making announcement that some factories would be reopening in various parts of the country. Those promises have so far turned out to be unfulfilled. Many companies pulling back on their plans. What do you think would change in the future?

Corky Messner: Well, I think what's changed is the COVID-19 situation. I think COVID-19 has changed a lot of things in this country. I think it's highlighted that it isn't in our national security interests to rely on manufacturing, PPE and foreign pharmaceutical components in China. And that change has changed dramatically. I think the other thing that's changed because of the COVID-19 situation is that manufacturers in this country now are getting the support they need to to manufacture their equipment. Let me give you an example. I was talking with someone yesterday who works for a company that manufactures ventilators. And in March of this year, at the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, they were manufacturing 250 ventilators a month. In August, they manufactured 10,000 ventilators and they're continuing to manufacture a lot of ventilators to make sure that the national stockpile has appropriate inventory so that creating more manufacturing jobs. 

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Rick Ganley:  The pandemic has highlighted inequities, I think, with the New Hampshire and the U.S. workforce in general. How do you plan to address that economic inequity across the country?

Corky Messner: Pre COVID-19, we saw not only a vibrant, growing, dynamic economy with record levels, unemployment across, you know, all ethnic groups, across all economic groups. But we were seeing before the COVID-19 crisis the wage increases at the bottom of the wage scales increasing more rapidly than any other level and more rapidly than it had increased in many, many years, I think, going back beyond a decade. And so I think the way to address all of this is to have a vibrant economy that is creating high paying good jobs, including manufacturing jobs, that allow people to not only have a good paying job, but opportunities to work their way into even better jobs.

Rick Ganley: Do you see a need for reform and how law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are operating? What changes would you potentially support?

Corky Messner: Well, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina proposed in the U.S. Senate not long ago a bill that had some proposals for law enforcement, including better training, better reporting. So there there was information regarding any law enforcement officers that that were bad apples. There was there was money in there for de-escalation training and other reforms. And I felt like that was a reasonable proposal.

Unfortunately, the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, including Jeanne Shaheen, you know, voted that they would not even debate it ... the proposal was let's debate the bill, the Democrats could add 20 amendments to the bill that could be debated, and then after the debate, there would be another vote, a second vote, whether to pass it or not, and the Democrats would not even vote to to debate that bill. And so there's been reasonable proposals. And, you know, I think the Democrats are more interested in having this as an election year issue than actually helping law and so law enforcement so they can be even better.

Rick Ganley: Many of our listeners want to know how candidates running for office plan to attain some degree of civility in political discourse going forward, how would you work with those in Congress who, you know, do oppose you? They hold different beliefs. 

Corky Messner: You know, I think there's a lot of areas of common ground that can be worked across the aisle. You know, I like to point to the way I conducted my campaign so far that I you know, I stayed on issues and talking about issues and and and not taking in a negative direction. And I think when I'm a U.S. senator, you know, I look for common ground. For me, it's about doing doing the harder right instead of the easier wrong, getting things done for Granite State

Mary McIntyre is a senior producer at NHPR. She manages the station's news magazines, Morning Edition and All Things Considered. You can email her at mmcintyre@nhpr.org.

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