As someone who has championed bringing back to America manufacturing jobs lost overseas, U.S. Rep Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, said an award he received Tuesday honoring that work had special meaning for him.
“I’m grateful for this award because it shows that the work we’ve done in my time in Congress has helped the American manufacturers,” Altmire said. “The cause moving forward is we have to continue to be as competitive as we possibly can be to continue to win these jobs and bring them back home.”
Representing more than 2.7 million people in the manufacturing, agriculture and labor fields, the Coalition for a Prosperous America is a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting trade policies that benefit American workers. The late Carl E. Jones founded Penn United, a high-precision metal manufacturer in Butler County and was a key member of CPA.
The award, which is given without regard to party affiliation, was presented for the first time last year to U.S. Rep Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, and U.S. Rep Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, for their work co-authoring the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act.
The bill, which Altmire said he voted in favor of, would have imposed tariffs on countries that undervalue their currency. The act passed the House in 2010, but the bill never made it to the Senate floor.
Penn United’s Dave Frengel, chairman of the Pennsylvania chapter of the coalition, said Altmire was chosen for the award based on his “congressional trade grade,” the evaluation the coalition assigns elected officials based on their votes and actions regarding manufacturing policies.
“Mr. Altmire’s trade grade is 100 percent,” he said.
Prior to the award presentation, Altmire was the featured speaker at The Chamber of Commerce Inc.’s weekly “Power Hour” networking meeting. The chamber serves North Pittsburgh, Northern Allegheny and the Cranberry area.
Altmire said discussion topics with the group ranged from Marcellus Shale regulations to health-care policies to politics in general.
He also spoke to members about U.S. Rep Mike Kelly, R-Butler, who — after the congressional redistricting map Gov. Tom Corbett signed into law in December — will represent communities in southern Butler County, including Cranberry, in 2012.
There are more district changes ahead for the congressman. The redrawn map also merges Altmire's district and the district of Rep. Mark Critz (D-12) of Johnstown into one legislative district — the new 12th district. As a result, one of the two incumbents will be forced out in a primary leading to the 2012 general election.
Although he no longer will represent Cranberry, Altmire said he would continue to have a presence in the area.
“I live in this area. This is somewhere where I go all the time,” he said. “I’m going to continue to support the work that’s done here and work with Congressman Kelly however I can.”