Joe Biden

Remarks in Sturtevant, Wisconsin

May 08, 2024

The President. Hello, hello, hello.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

The President. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Hello, Wisconsin! And, Nick, thanks for that introduction.

Look, before I get started, I want to set the record straight.

Please, sit down.

I went to a Catholic High School in Delaware taught by the Norbertine priests from St. Norbert's College, you know, a little team called "Green Bay." Now, here's the deal. We were the only high school in Delaware that overwhelmingly rooted for Green Bay—[laughter]—every—not a joke; I'll tell you why—every single Sunday.

Not only did they have great teams at the time—they still do—but not only that, my theology professor at the Catholic school I went to was a guy named Reilley, last name. And he had been drafted by the Green Bay Packers. And he decided to become a priest before that, so he didn't go. But every single, solitary Monday that Green Bay won, we got the last period of the day off. [Laughter]

Now, we Catholics call that indirect bribery. [Laughter] But it worked. [Laughter]

It's always great to be with one of the best Governors in America, Tony Evers. Tony—[applause]. I think of Tony—I mean it—I think of one word: integrity. You're a man of absolute integrity.

And what I'm really doing—I'm really auditioning for a job—[laughter]—with a little company that's going to build something out here. [Laughter]

Thank you for the comments you made about what we're doing together.

Well, look, while she couldn't be here, I want to thank the best—one of the best U.S. Senators in the United States of America and a good friend of mine, Tammy Baldwin. [Applause] I mean it.

You've also got a great mayor in Racine, Cory Mason.

Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, thank you for your partnership and for showing how we get things done—and big things done—in America. And thank you for your friendship. I really mean it.

And, Liz Shuler, the president of AFL-CIO, thank you for all you do benefiting the American union movement. There's a—you know, I get called the most pro-union President in American history. I make no apologies for it. [Applause] None. I'm serious.

The middle class built America, but unions built the middle class. I've been saying that for a long time.

Folks, I'm here to talk about a great comeback story in America.

And I'm sure you remember. Racine was once a manufacturing boomtown, all the way through the 1960s, powering companies—invented and manufacturing Windex, portable vacuum cleaners, and so much more, and powered by middle class jobs.

And then came trickle-down economics—cut taxes for the very wealthy and biggest corporations beginning in the sixties. We shipped American jobs overseas because labor was cheaper. We slashed public investment in education and innovation. And the result: We hollowed out the middle class.

My predecessor and his administration doubled down on that failed trickle-down economics, along with the trial of broken promises.

Look, my dad used to have an expression. He'd say, "Joey, a job"—I mean this sincerely. A —my dad was a well-read man. Never got to go to college, but he was a good man all across the board. And he'd say: "Joey, remember, a job is a lot more than a—about more than a paycheck. It's about your integrity. It's about your dignity. It's about being treated with respect. It's about being able to look your kid in the eye and say, 'Honey, everything is going to be okay.'"

In fact, 6 years ago, when my predecessor came to Racine with a promise of, quote, "reclaiming our country's proud manufacturing legacy." Well, we had "Infrastructure Day" every—"Week" every week for 4 years, didn't build a damn thing. [Laughter]

He and his administration promised a $10 billion investment by Foxconn to build a new manufacturing complex and create 13,000 new jobs. In fact, he came here with your Senator, Ron Johnson, literally holding a golden shovel, promising to build the "eighth wonder of the world."

Are you kidding me? [Laughter] Look what happened. They dug a hole with those golden shovels, and then they fell into it. [Laughter]

Look, they didn't shovel other dirt—they did shovel some dirt. One hundred homes were —were bulldozed. They wasted hundreds of millions of dollars—your State and local tax dollars—to promise a project that never happened. Foxconn turned out to be just that: a con. Go figure.

In just 4 years under his administration, instead of creating 13,000 jobs in Racine, my predecessor—and a hundred—and a thousand manufacturing jobs—rather than creating them, a thousand manufacturing jobs left Racine. Eighty-five thousand five—eighty-three thousand five hundred total jobs left Wisconsin during my predecessor's term.

But that's not on my watch. We're determined to turn it around.

Thus far, since we've come into office, we've created—and with the Governor's overwhelming leadership, we've created over 178,000 jobs in Wisconsin, and we're going to create more here in Racine and big time.

Some of my friends on the far right have criticized my "Investing in America" agenda, my—which includes my bipartisan infrastructure law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. But a lot of business leaders support it as a key to economic growth that we're seeing now.

Remember hear—you're going to hear "a recession next week," "a recession next week," "no soft landing." Well, in fact, I've asked business leaders like Brad a simple question: When the United States decides to invest considerable resources in a new industry that we need to build, does that encourage or discourage them engaging? The answer overwhelmingly is, it encourages business investment. And that's what we're seeing now with our administration.

My "Investing in America" agenda is fueling a historic boom in rebuilding our roads and bridges, developing and deploying clean energy, revitalizing American manufacturing, and so much more.

So far, we've created $866 billion in private-sector investment nationwide—almost a trillion dollars—historic amounts in such a short time. And that's literally creating hundreds of thousands of jobs; building new semiconductor factories, electric vehicles and battery factories; and so much more here—all here in America.

Today is another example of the private sector optimism. Microsoft, as the president already pointed out, is investing $3.3 billion to build a new data center here in Racine that's going to help operate one of the most powerful artificial intelligence systems in the world. And I've gone around the world—literally, not figuratively—meeting with the leading architects of AI.

It's going to result in 2,300 union construction jobs just to build the new facility and 2,000 permanent workers to work in the data centers. In addition, we're also providing a pipeline to train these—for new—these new jobs, a pipeline that starts right here at this very spot.

Microsoft is partnering with Gateway Technical Community College right here to train and certify 200 students a year to fill high-demand, good-paying jobs in data and IT at Microsoft's new AI data center here in Racine.

But that's not all. In addition, Microsoft is continuing a pipeline, going to high schools in nearby Mount Pleasant to train high school students for jobs of the future. As the boss pointed out, it's going to create a hundred thousand jobs over time. It's all part of Microsoft's broad plan to build an artificial intelligence ecosystem right here in Racine.

And it's going to be transformative not—just here, but worldwide. It's not only a significant investment in infrastructure of Racine, but for the people of Racine. It means folks are getting trained—folks are getting trained—in new high-paying, high-skilled jobs that don't require a 4-year college degree and don't require you to leave home.

You know, where I come from, that really matters. I know what it's like when your parents have to move the family in search of work because there's no jobs, what it does to the family's dignity.

My wife Jill, who teaches full time at a community college, cares a lot about this as well. Last year, she announced our first five workforce hub sites to build a pipeline of workers in industries that create the new hometowns—that are creating new—there are new—hometowns in Phoenix; Baltimore; Columbus, Ohio; Augusta, Georgia, building everything from semiconductors to electric vehicles.

Last month, I announced four new hubs to continue to train workers for the jobs of the future—one of which is in Milwaukee that trains workers to help replace every poisonous lead pipe in America in a decade and funded by the infrastructure law.

And by the way, "Buy America" has been the law of the land since the thirties, but it's been ignored by most administrations. Past administrations, including my predecessor, have failed to buy American.

Not anymore. Here's how it works. When the—when the Congress sends something to the President to build something—whether it's a road, a highway, a deck of an aircraft carrier; whatever it is—that President is—back from a law that was passed in the thirties—is supposed to hire American workers to build it and use American products.

Well, on my watch and with Tammy's leadership, Federal projects like the Blatnik Bridge here in Wisconsin—it's going to cost a billion dollars, but it's all—all American made, all American products, and all American workers. And it's create—going to create 10,000 new jobs—10,000.

In addition, the roads and highways and so much more will be made with American products, built by American workers, creating good-paying American jobs.

What's happening in Racine is really important—and for another reason. We'll see more technical community colleges—technical changes needed in the next 10 years than we saw in the last 50. AI is already driving that change in every part of American life, from how we teach and learn to how we solve the biggest challenges, from curing cancer to climate change.

America is a global leader in AI, and American companies lead the world in AI innovation and a lot of what we're going to see here in Racine. Because of our initiatives, American workers will power that innovation here in America.

But look, to get the full benefit of all this safeguards [all this AI; White House correction], we need safeguards. That's why, as the president pointed out, I signed the landmark Executive order on which the most significant action any government has taken anywhere in the world—has ever taken for AI safety, security, and trust.

This order helps make sure workers have a seat at the table in determining how these technologies are developed and used. For real.

And we'll support workers in every industry by defending their right to a fair wage, to organize as these technologies emerge across the board. And they're going to happen.

Folks, during the previous administration, my predecessor made promises which he broke more than kept, left a lot people behind in communities like Racine. On my watch, we make promises, and we keep promises. And we leave no one behind.

Since I took office, we've added nearly 4,000 jobs in Racine. As I said earlier, we've added 178,000 in the State of Wisconsin. The unemployment rate has hit a record low in Racine. Racine has seen some of the strongest new business growth in all of Wisconsin. And it's only just beginning.

We're seeing the great American comeback story all across Wisconsin and, quite frankly, in the entire country.

The bottom line is, we're doing what's always worked in this country: Giving people a fair shot, leaving nobody behind, and grow the economy from the middle out and the bottom up, not the top down. When that happens, everybody does well. Everybody does well.

Let me close with this. When folks see a new factory being built here in Wisconsin, people going to work making a really good wage in their hometowns, I hope they feel the pride that I feel. Pride in their hometowns making a comeback. Pride in knowing we can get big things done in America still.

And, folks, I've never been more optimistic—and I've only been around a couple years, I know. [Laughter] I know I don't look it, but I'm only 40 plus 2 times—well, anyway. [Laughter]

But I've never been more—I swear to God, I've never been more optimistic about our future. We just have to remember who in the hell we are. We're the United States of America. And there's nothing beyond our capacity when we work together. Nothing. I mean that: nothing.

The rest of the world looks to us. So keep it going.

God bless you all, and may God protect our troops. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Audience members. Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!

[At this point, the President addressed audience members on the second floor.]

The President. Don't jump!

NOTE: The President spoke at 11:57 a.m. at Gateway Technical College. In his remarks, he referred to Nick Fick, president of membership development, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 430 in Racine, WI; and former President Donald J. Trump.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks in Sturtevant, Wisconsin Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/371657

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