Clinton to talk jobs, national defense in Valpo

Washington Township School's Dold Gym will host event
2008-04-11T00:00:00Z Clinton to talk jobs, national defense in ValpoPATRICK GUINANE
April 11, 2008 12:00 am  • 

VALPARAISO | U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton will hold a town hall meeting Saturday with former Magnequench employees, whose defense-industry jobs were outsourced to China five years ago.

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The event, which is free and open to the public, will be at 3:45 p.m. at Washington Township School's Dold Gym, 383 E. Ind. 2. Doors will open at 1:45 p.m.

The New York Democrat, making her second swing through Northwest Indiana, also plans to talk jobs, specifically the need to award lucrative defense contracts to U.S. firms, in Indianapolis and Mishawaka.

U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., outlined Clinton's game plan Thursday in a conference call with Indiana reporters.

"These stops are going to focus upon two of the preeminent challenges we face and their interrelationship to one another," Bayh said. "No. 1, creating good jobs for American workers. No. 2, providing for America's defense in a dangerous world."

Magnequench produces rare-earth magnets for military smart bombs. The company laid off 225 workers when it closed its Valparaiso plant in late 2003 and shifted operations to China.

Bayh said Clinton also plans to meet Saturday with Allison Transmission workers who build tank transmissions in Indianapolis and with AM General employees who manufacture military Humvees in Mishawaka. Executives from a pair of New York defense suppliers joined Bayh on the conference call to say Clinton had been "instrumental" in growing their companies through research grants and government contracts.

The Mishawaka event at AM General is by invitation only.

Clinton and Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, are competing for the 72 pledged delegates at stake in Indiana's May 6 primary.

The latest Associated Press tally shows Obama leading Clinton in the national delegate count 1,639 to 1,503. But neither candidate seems likely to secure the 2,025 delegates needed to win the Democratic nomination prior to the party convention in August.

Clinton visited Hammond two weeks ago. She, her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea, in recent weeks have made roughly three dozen stops across Indiana, which has become a presidential battleground state for the first time in four decades.

Obama held a rally Thursday in Gary as part of a three-day Hoosier bus tour. He visited Plainfield, Ind., last month, and his campaign aired television commercials here while the Clinton family toured the state.

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