INDIANAPOLIS – The questions for Rep. Braun about his company continue to pile up after another Associated Press article about his business revealed one of his biggest suppliers began laying off its American workers and outsourced jobs to China the same year Rep. Braun’s company began to work with them.
On Thursday, the Associated Press reported that one of Rep. Braun’s biggest suppliers, Westin Automotive, laid off over 200 workers from its Minnesota plant in 2008 and began to shift production to low-wage factories in China and Taiwan. That’s the same year that Meyer Distributing, Rep. Braun’s company, began to do business with them. Westin has became one of Rep. Braun’s biggest suppliers while importing more than 700 shipments of parts from China. The AP also reported earlier this month that Promaxx Automotive, a brand of Rep. Braun’s company with its own line of auto parts, has many of its parts made in China.
Given Rep. Braun’s refusal to tell Hoosiers the truth about the extent of his reliance on Chinese-made products, it’s clear there are several pressing questions he still needs to answer about his relationship with Westin Automotive:
- Did Rep. Braun know that Westin Automotive had laid off American workers and shifted production to China before he started doing business with them? If not, when did he know?
- If Rep. Braun did know about Westin Automotive’s outsourcing of American labor, considering his current focus on “made in America” jobs, why did he not speak out against the outsourcing practices of one of his biggest suppliers?
- How can Rep. Braun square his “made in America” rhetoric with the fact that one of his biggest suppliers engages in the type of outsourcing practices he consistently rails against?
- Westin’s decision to shut down its Minnesota factory and outsource jobs to China was the same year that it first partnered with Meyer Distributing. Did the outsourcing decision come before or after Westin began supplying Meyer? Is there any correlation between the two actions?
- Did Rep. Braun’s company decide to do business with Westin Automotive because it shifted its production from America to China in order to make cheaper parts for the company?