DETROIT, Mich. -- Just days after his inauguration, Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted were in the neighboring state of Michigan, at the North American International Auto Show. While they are seeing the latest concept cars and new models, their real purpose is to meet the top executive of General Motors and lobby for jobs on the chopping block in Lordstown.
GM is pulling the Chevy Cruze model from the plant in Lordstown, near Youngstown, which will idle more than 1600 workers. It's just one of five plants GM is planning to shut down.
DeWine said he will emphasize in his meeting with GM's Mary Barra that Ohio can be a partner with the automaker.
“I want her to understand, we want to be partners with General Motors in regards to Lordstown," DeWine said during an availability with the media. He said he will ask Barra to designate a new model to be built at the plant. But he didn't seem to be armed with handouts or incentives to offer the automaker.
“We’re going to work together to put whatever kind of package that they need, to put that together, but, again, we have to know exactly what they need," he said.
Union leaders from Lordstown were on hand and were encouraged by DeWine's efforts. But David Green, the president of UAW Local 12 in Lordstown, said he doesn't expect the plant to be saved in tomorrow's meeting.
“Hopefully this groundwork will help us get a product here in the future," Green said.
He said he expects the plant to be shuttered on March 8, but hoped it will only be a temporary situation.