Follow us

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Vice President Kamala Harris visited southeast Wisconsin Thursday to tout the administration’s investments in high-speed internet and the additional jobs that were the result.

Harris’ visit to the Sanmina facility coincided with Nokia’s announcement they would be expanding and hiring 200 additional workers. The telecom corporation based in Finland manufactures broadband network electronic products for the BEAD (Broadband, Equity, Access, Deployment) program, which is investing $65 billion to increase access to high-speed internet.

“They will build the parts that are needed to connect people with high-speed internet,” she said.

Harris argued access to high-speed internet was no longer a luxury but a necessity in the modern world.

Baldwin fights for American jobs

With a plan on the table for historic investments in access to high-speed internet, Harris said they knew they would need products to support the plan.

Vice President Kamala Harris visits Kenosha County
U.S. Sen Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) speaks before Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday, August 3, 2023, at the Sanmina Corporation in Pleasant Prairie. Up to 2090 jobs will be added at Sanmina, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration initiative to invest in high speed internet. Nokia will manufacture broadband network products for the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program. / Mark Hertzberg for Racine County Eye

And Senator Tammy Baldwin knew who she wanted to manufacture those products: American workers.

“Let me just tell you, so much of this project is due to the advocacy of Senator Baldwin,” Harris said. As a direct result of Baldwin’s leadership, a “made in America” requirement was added to the deal.

“She made it a priority,” Harris said. “When she’s got a priority, you will hear about it until you do something about it.”

Baldwin addressed the audience and said the matter seemed pretty simple: if the government was going to be investing American tax dollars, those tax dollars should go toward supporting the American worker.

Harris: It’s time to fix this

Harris revisited a time when manufacturing jobs were the bedrock of the American economy. She noted “short-sighted economic policy” resulted in communities who “saw the anchor of their community packed up and shipped offshore.”

She said between 1990 and 2010, six million manufacturing jobs were lost. While politicians promised to bring those jobs back, she continued, they failed to deliver on that promise.

“President Joe Biden and I ran for office because we decided it was time to fix this,” she said.

“For far too long, our economy has not worked for working people,” Harris said. “Entire communities have been left out and left behind.”

The Biden/Harris administration “decided to invest in the working people of America, to create millions of jobs, to rebuild American manufacturing, to repair our roads and bridges, to expand clean energy products, to replace every lead pipe in our nation, to connect every home to high-speed internet.”

She added, “And to ensure every person in America, no matter where they start, has access to opportunity, and the tools they need to climb.

“And that is called ‘Bidenomics,’” she said.

Racine leadership in attendance

Community leaders from Racine traveled to Pleasant Prairie to learn more about the administration’s goals.

One of the people in the audience was Jamario Farr Sr., a Racine Unified School District Community Connector, who had the opportunity to meet with Harris prior to her speech.

He reported she spoke about social services and bringing resources, opportunities and awareness to trauma-informed care to communities.

“We do have a broken community, we have broken communities, and it’s time for us to not only heal the land but to heal people,” Farr said. “We want to make sure the people we put into positions are not only educated but they are whole holistically.”

He said he appreciated that Vice President Harris brought awareness to these issues and understood the need for resources, services and opportunities, which she did address in her speech.

Vice President Kamala Harris visits Kenosha County
Representative Tip McGuire said, “I think it’s great to hear the administration is going to continue to prioritize jobs to Wisconsin and bringing jobs to America.” – Credit: Dee Hölzel
Vice President Kamala Harris visits Kenosha County
Much of the talk of the day was about jobs and opportunity. Tamika Howard, Delphine Cherry and Steven Gates were on hand to remind everyone of the other issue the area is facing: high rates of gun violence. Cherry has lost two of her children to gun violence. She is the Illinois leader of Brady Illinois: United Against Gun Violence. – Credit: Dee Hölzel
Vice President Kamala Harris visits Kenosha County
Trevor Jung, Racine’s Transit and Mobility Director, is shown with the Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo. Jung praised the investments being made by the administration and said, “There’s a real commitment from the federal government to making sure local manufacturing firms in Kenosha and Racine and across the state of Wisconsin have what they need to employ people with family-supporting jobs.” – Credit: Dee Hölzel
Vice President Kamala Harris visits Kenosha County
Alderman Maurice Horton said he was encouraged by the additional jobs coming to Pleasant Prairie – just a 15 or 20 minute drive from Racine. He saw it as an opportunity for families and for Racine to thrive. – Credit: Dee Hölzel

Local business

Local businesses and nonprofits make up the backbone of our community. The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, is your local news source that serves our diverse communities. Become a subscriber to stay up-to-date with local news.

Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, Instagram and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.

Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.