St. Augustine, Fla. – The final stop of Marco Rubio’s Take a Stand bus tour through Florida Wednesday came at a Caterpillar dealership where the Republican Senate candidate heard company executives bemoan President Obama’s economic policies.
Obama had predicted Caterpillar would be one of the success stories of his stimulus plan, but Rubio’s two guides through the North Florida Caterpillar dealership – Caterpillar Senior Vice President Tim Maguire and Chris Tomkinson of the Ring Power dealership — didn’t seem optimistic about the stimulus one year later.
"We certainly haven’t seen a whole lot of things happening as a result of stimulus money," Tomkinson told HUMAN EVENTS. "A big focus in Florida is tourism and house building and those types of things, and so stimulus money has yet to be seen. I think in the big scheme of things, the money that’s allotted to the state of Florida will have very, very little impact on our type of business."
Tomkinson said the company has had to make some "very hard" decisions as a result of the economic downturn. In the video below, he and Maguire discuss with Rubio how much busier the plant was three years ago when it had multiple shifts, more noise, and the building was to small to contain their business.
"There’s not a lot from the stimulus that’s helping – it’s helping some, but not enough," Maguire says.
Rubio, former speaker of the Florida house who is battling Gov. Charlie Crist in the Republican primary, charged that Obama’s first major initiative upon taking office last year — the $862 billion stimulus package — isn’t doing the job.
"The stimulus spending created some short-term activity in the [heavy-equipment] sector, but ultimately what’s good for them is long-term, sustainable private-sector growth and an economy that’s generating enough revenue so that government can invest in infrastructure," Rubio said. "Otherwise, it’s kind of the equivalent of a sugar rush."
Rubio said his campaign came to the dealership because it’s a business at the forefront of the economic downturn.
"You can read about job losses, you can read about companies that are laying people off and freezing benefits and pay, but when you come to a place that’s actually faced that. you get to interact with people who have had that happen, who were working next to somebody for years who’s not here anymore, who fear that they may be next, you kind of get the full impact," Rubio said. "You see the face and the stories behind the economic downturn."
To see Rubio at the Caterpillar dealership, go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytFixjNw3Fo