AKRON, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine spoke to a crowd of roughly a thousand people Thursday afternoon in Akron, Thursday morning in Detroit though his focus was an audience of one in General Motors CEO Mary Barra.
DeWine was in Detroit to meet with Ohio automakers but the meeting with Barra was one that was most crucial given the automakers decision in November to end production of the Chevy Cruze at the Lordstown Assembly Plant in March with no new line to replace it.
"It was my opportunity to meet with her in person," he said. "And to tell her and the other executives at GM that if they will put a new line in Lordstown that we will do everything that we can to support that, help that, put a package together."
GM has said they will be looking to begin production in the coming years on 20 new all electric vehicles. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich telling News 5 before leaving office that his sense from his interactions with the automaker was he didn't think they would, "it's a Hail Mary pass to be honest with you," Kasich said.
When asked if that was the sense he got after his meeting with Barra - DeWine said "she did not rule that out but there was no indication that this is going to happen. I mean I did not get any indication that they would be able to put a new line in. Didn't say no but certainly gave us no indication that was going to happen."
"But I also said if they are not going to do that, we're going to help facilitate getting another company in. That we're going to do everything that we can to work with the UAW, everything that we can do to work with General Motors to get somebody else in there because this is a great facility, we have great workers in the Mahoning Valley, we don't want this to be sitting idle for very long," he said.
DeWine said he got the sense from Barra that GM will be very willing to do everything that they can to see something go into Lordstown if they choose not to put a new line in there. "I am convinced of that," he said. "I think it's in their selfish interest to do it, it's in the interest of the Mahoning Valley, it's in the interest of the state of Ohio."
DeWine said he got no indication of a specific timeline for a Lordstown decision.