By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
Congressman Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, on Monday stopped at the TMK IPSCO steel plant in Camanche to tour the facility and talk with employees.
TMK IPSCO operates 11 facilities and employs more than 2,500 people in the U.S.
The Camanche plant produces welded pipe for the oil and gas industries and operates with 238 employees.
According to Loebsack, who is a member of the Congressional Steel Caucus, TMK IPSCO is one of a number of steel plants in his district.
“This plant is a part of something larger. It’s about trying to make things in America,” Loebsack said. “This plant is a success story and we’re trying to make more success stories.”
Loebsack said Monday’s visit was also about hearing what concerns employees of the plants had, including finding skilled workers and addressing the problems caused by alleged illegal practices common in the Chinese steel industry.
According to a letter to President Barack Obama signed by the Congressional Steel Caucus, including Loebsack, China is allegedly devaluing its currency by up to 40 percent, costing the U.S. more than 2.5 million manufacturing jobs and a trade deficit of as much as $283 billion.
The letter also stated American-made steel creates approximately 1.2 million jobs and adds $350 billion to the U.S. economy.
Before and after the tour Loebsack briefly met with a few employees including Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Scott Barnes.
Barnes called the visit a big success.
“Anytime we can visit with our elected officials and educate them on how they can assist us is worthwhile,” Barnes said. “We appreciate him making time in his schedule for us.”
Loebsack has been no stranger to the area since it was added to Iowa’s Second Congressional District as a result of redistricting. He visited Clinton a little more than two weeks ago to present a grant to help homeless veterans find jobs. Loebsack is the district incumbent and will vie for his fourth term in office against newcomer John Archer, a Republican, in the general election. Loebsack currently is leading the campaign cash race against Archer. Campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission show Loebsack with $801,188 in on-hand cash at the end of June while Archer had $63,557.