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Republican candidate for the US Senate John Brunner met with manufacturers in Springfield Wednesday to listen to their concerns. Brunner entered the race a day earlier. The stop in Springfield was his first on a statewide tour to meet with other manufacturers.
Wednesday morning at the Missouri Association of Manufacturers, Brunner said local business owners told him that America is becoming less and less competitive in the worldwide market.
“Someway, we need to sit down, as manufacturers with our elected officials and say, ‘Why have we lost our competitive edge? Why are all of our jobs heading overseas?’” Brunner said.
The US has long considered innovation its strong card on the international manufacturing stage. However, Brunner said even that is under threat.
“One of the manufacturers commented [that], even on the innovation side, it’s not sustainable because we’re getting innovation now—not just manufacturing—but innovation is also coming in India and China. And we might not even have that element left. Right now, we say we have innovation, but things are made overseas. Well, when innovation leaves, we’re not gonna have anything left,” Brunner said.
And part of that, he feels, is due to over-regulation. He likens the situation to someone working out on the track: every time the runner passes by the US government stand, instead of getting a cup of water, they’re given another brick in their backpack.
“And they go around the next time, and [get] another brick, and then another brick, and another brick. And finally, [with] the accumulation of all these rules and regulations, how do you compete—not just in Missouri, but worldwide?” Brunner said.
Brunner also said he’s very concerned about the national debt, and that he would support a Constitutional Amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
The candidate is the Chairman of the Board of Vi-Jon, a company that manufactures over 6,000 different products, including Germ-X hand sanitizer.
The two other Republicans in the race are former state treasurer Sarah Steelman and US Representative Todd Akin.
Each hopes to challenge Democratic US Senator Claire McCaskill, who is up for reelection next year.
Shortly after Brunner announced his candidacy, Steelman challenged both him and Akin to debates. They say they are willing to debate, but must first agree on a timeline.
For KSMU News, I’m Jennifer Moore.