Rep. Torres visits Fontana businesses while promoting local manufacturing economy
As part of her "Made in the 35th" tour, Rep. Norma Torres (D-Pomona) visited four Fontana businesses that have helped create numerous manufacturing jobs.
The five-day tour in the 35th Congressional District came to Fontana on Aug. 8 and also included stops at manufacturing-focused businesses in Ontario, Pomona, Chino, Rialto, and Bloomington.
“Most people don’t think of the Inland Empire when they think of manufacturing, yet local manufacturers continue to fuel the region’s economy and produce goods used across the globe in nearly every sector,” said Torres. “My ‘Made in the 35th’ tour highlights the local businesses that are innovating and creating jobs for local residents as well as the issues impacting the future of our local manufacturing economy.”
In Fontana, Torres visited Lynam Industries, a sheet metal products and enclosures producer with a niche in server racks and frameworks for X-ray inspection equipment; Santa Fe Machine Works, a family-owned business that survived the Great Depression and is now a leader in injection and extrusion screw manufacturing; A&R Tarpaulins, a company that creates custom tarp products that are used to cover components of rockets that go into space; and Vista Metals, manufacturers of aluminum for construction, auto, and aerospace industries.
At Santa Fe Machine Works, Torres was welcomed by Scott Kelly, a fourth-generation machine worker, and his wife Julie. Kelly said that one of the issues he has faced in recent years is how to cope with higher costs relating to strict environmental policies; the answer has been to ship some work out of state. Torres took note and promised to work to address those issues.
Torres’ priority is to revitalize American manufacturing to create more good paying jobs.
“Our region is home to a robust manufacturing sector that employs thousands of Americans and is filled with potential given our strategic location and logistics hub, and changes to policies impacting U.S. manufacturing must take our region into account," she said.
After the tour ended, Torres said she was impressed with the wide array of products that are made in the district, from packaged cookies to military equipment, from hotel furniture to parts for the Mars rover.
"It was inspiring to see the pride these companies take in their products and their employees and how many are family owned with employees who have worked at their facilities for decades," said Torres.
Torres's tour included:
• Six cities
• 15 manufacturers, representing 2,268 employees.
• Five military/defense suppliers
• 11 companies that had been in the 35th District for more than 25 years
• One company that had been in the district for less than one year
• Three female-owned businesses
Torres said that while manufacturing has only grown 3.4 percent nationwide, manufacturing in the Inland Empire is far ahead of national trends with a growth of 13.3 percent in San Bernardino County.
A total of 34,500 people are employed in manufacturing in the 35th District, with the average wage for manufacturing employees in California being nearly double the average wage for all sectors in the district -- $83,000 compared to $47,000.