published Saturday, July 26th, 2014

Corker: An open letter to Chattanoogans

By Sen. Bob Corker

Dear Chattanoogans,

Companies worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence in Tennessee. Many attribute it to our pro-business culture, well-prepared workforce, low tax environment, right-to-work policies and engaged citizenry.

That is why the announcement by Volkswagen to build its midsize sports utility vehicle and establish the South's first automotive research and development center in Chattanooga was possible. I could not be more excited about Volkswagen's deepened commitment to our state and for the thousands of Tennesseans who will benefit from the high-quality jobs that will be added.

I will never forget the moment in 2008 when I got the call from Volkswagen officials with news that the company would come to Chattanooga. That call was the culmination of a decades-long vision our community developed with the goal of attracting a major, international manufacturing company to our city.

A key reason that was possible was because of the foundation my colleague, Lamar Alexander, laid with the recruitment of Nissan in the 1980s, which started a process that has allowed Tennessee to become one of the most important automotive states.

On July 15, six years to the day since Volkswagen first announced it was coming to the Volunteer State, we celebrated the news that the company will significantly grow its presence in my hometown.

It has not been an easy road. Over the past several months, you have watched the debate about Volkswagen's decision to expand play out in public. I know some viewed the path we took as controversial, but there was no other road that would have led us to this great outcome.

The number of jobs Volkswagen will add is far more than anyone anticipated. Through Gov. Bill Haslam's tenacity and the hard work of his economic development team, we were able to greatly expand Volkswagen's commitment by also securing the research and development center, bringing the total number of new jobs from 1,350 to 2,000 and an investment of $600 million in Tennessee.

Because jobs in the auto industry have such a significant multiplier effect, we expect this investment to create thousands of indirect jobs, helping solidify Tennessee as the place for automobile manufacturing in our country.

There are many to thank for this success.

The employees at Volkswagen Chattanooga have built a nationally recognized car, causing the company to want to double down on their investment.

Mayors Jim Coppinger and Andy Berke, the County Commission and City Council, and Ron Harr and the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce all deserve credit for helping to make this announcement possible.

And Volkswagen partnered with us to complete the vision we had of bringing a world-class manufacturer to Chattanooga.

You also played an important role in attracting Volkswagen to our city. It is the unique way we unite around a bold vision and work together to make it a reality. It's the Chattanooga Way.

There are few things I cherish more than coming home every weekend to the community and state I love. There is no place quite like Tennessee, which is why we are catching the attention of so many around the world. I believe even more great things are yet to come as we continue working together to bring high-quality jobs to the state by making the most of the unique assets for which Tennessee is known.

Bob Corker, who served as Chattanooga mayor from 2001-205, is a U.S. senator for Tennessee.

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Hunter_Bluff said...

An Open Response to Bob Corker Thank you for your work as Mayor to make Chattanooga so livable and vibrant. Likewise I appreciate your help in landing VW here. You've shown you can work with your colleagues in TN who not coincidentally are all Republicans. But we elected you to the national stage to work for the nation. A strong Chattanooga surrounded by a corrupt Tennessee and a dysfunctional national government is just the tallest midget in the freak show. We need you to decide if you want to be a big fish in TN (then run for governor - we could use one) or pay attention to national issues. The system isn’t working- jobs, debt, trade, education, & infrastructure define the success of a society. You've shown potential in your proposed gas tax legislation. Build on that and you could be presidential timber. But you have to leave the local governing behind. It's not what we pay you to do.

July 26, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.
javelin363 said...

Bobby you have come a long way since the Bencor days. But if you remember things so well then you remember when VW first announced coming here the pay was going to average $22 an hour, instead of the $15 and change it is now. And you were dead set against an union, why. The jobs it VW are better paying than a lot of jobs here but they could be better. Why are you against Chattanoogans making a better living? Right to work should be right to work non union or union as people see fit without influence from elected officials. I wonder how the vote would had you not said the SUV would be built here only if the union was defeated, which was a lie at the time according to VW officials. Or Haslam withdrew the 300 million to get the plant here. Maybe without all the crap we could have got the motor plant or the aldi plant.

July 26, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Right-to-work=fire at will. It is an oppressive, dark age mentality fomented by the elite who "know best" about our own good. Yassur, boss man, yassur,, thankyuh kindly.

July 26, 2014 at 11:10 p.m.
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