On May 18, I joined the hardworking men and women of V&M Star Steel and community leaders to welcome President Obama to Youngstown. One of the area’s largest employers, V&M is currently undergoing a $650 million project to construct a new steel pipe mill at its existing facility. This private investment was made possible by a $20 million infrastructure investment included in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. This expansion will create hundreds of construction-related jobs and about 350 full-time, permanent jobs.

The last time President Obama came to our area, he visited the GM Lordstown Complex, where a third shift was added to build the new fuel-efficient Chevy Cruze.  GM invested $350 million in the Lordstown facility to make way for an additional 1,200 jobs – good paying jobs that are will provide an additional a $47 million payroll, $1.4 million in state income taxes, and generate $470,000 in local income taxes.

These two projects represent just a small portion of nearly $1.5 billion in investments generated recently in Ohio’s 17th District – strategic investments that will create over 5,000 local jobs and retain thousands more.  From Revere Data moving jobs from India to downtown Youngstown, to the new Bridgestone-Firestone Tech Center in Akron and the Kent Central Gateway in Portage County, to the opportunities presented by our region’s close proximity to the extensive Marcellus Shale field – it is clear that our local economic development strategy is working.

As I joined the President for his visit today, I cannot help but think about how far we have come in the past few years, what our friends and family have been through, and how the hard work of this Administration and our community leaders is making our region an economic “comeback kid”.