Bob Corker - U.S. Senator, Tennessee
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We are incredibly fortunate to live in a state in which companies
worldwide are clamoring to establish a presence. 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 [link 5] 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 Tennessee families who will benefit from the high-quality jobs that
will be added at the plant and at automotive suppliers statewide.
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 the 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.
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
regarding 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. I know it has been
challenging at times, especially for the workers at Volkswagen and for the
community, but in the end this effort that so many helped make happen
has and will continue to pay off in huge ways for Tennesseans.
number of jobs Volkswagen will add is far more than anyone anticipated.
That is in large part because of the tenacity and hard work of our
governor, Bill Haslam, and his economic development team. Originally, we
were focused on obtaining the second automobile line � the midsize
SUV � for production at the Chattanooga plant and a promise that 1,350
new jobs would be created.
Through Governor Haslam�s leadership, we
were able to move the dial and 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.
This investment hopefully will have a ripple effect
that will make an even larger economic splash in the state. A 2013
University of Tennessee study indicated that because jobs in the auto
industry have such a significant multiplier effect, the original
Volkswagen plant � which was employing 2,400 people at that time � drove the
creation of more than 12,400 jobs to the state, including 17 supplier
companies that came to the area and other Tennessee-based businesses
that added new jobs because of the economic growth.
We expect this
investment to create thousands of indirect jobs, helping solidify
Tennessee as the place for automobile manufacturing in our country.
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 is a U.S. senator for Tennessee and served as mayor of
Chattanooga from 2001-2005.�*