New Jersey's 24th Legislative District

Senator Steven Oroho

Senator Steve Oroho

Oroho, Greenstein: Manufacturing Caucus Roundtable Shows Need to Make ‘Made in New Jersey’ a Reality

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Caucus leaders say New Jersey shouldn’t have to buy 90% of its PPE from overseas during a pandemic

More needs to be done to make “Made in New Jersey” a reality, said Senators Steve Oroho and Linda Greenstein, the co-chair and chair of the legislative manufacturing caucus, after today’s roundtable with manufacturers on the coronavirus crisis.

Sens. Steve Oroho and Linda Greenstein said more needs to be done to make “Made in New Jersey” a reality. (Pixabay)

“We learned today how resourceful New Jersey manufacturers were in working to retool their operations immediately to meet critical needs,” said Senator Oroho (R-Sussex). “New Jersey manufacturers kept working throughout the coronavirus crisis, and the lessons they learned about how to operate safely will be transferrable to other businesses as the economy reopens.

“Our manufacturing sector employs more than 300,000 technical-skilled workers in jobs that pay well above the state average. Strengthening and expanding manufacturing needs to be a crucial element of our economic plan for the post-coronavirus future,” he said.

Senators Oroho and Greenstein said the manufacturing caucus would work together on legislation to enhance New Jersey’s manufacturing capacity for critical healthcare supplies and on other initiatives to strengthen New Jersey’s manufacturing base.

“New Jersey and other states faced a critical shortage of masks, gloves and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus crisis, setting off a bidding war for supplies,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer).

“While New Jersey manufacturers struggled to get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to switch over their operations to manufacture PPE, we ended up buying 90% of our PPE supplies from overseas,” she said. “We need to do everything we can as a state government to ensure that New Jersey manufacturers get the approvals they need so that we are not at the mercy of foreign suppliers in a future crisis.”

More than a dozen New Jersey manufacturers, national experts and a representative of the state Economic Development Authority joined this morning’s legislative manufacturing caucus roundtable to discuss the challenges they faced over the last three months in responding to the coronavirus crisis. Among the critical issues discussed were the difficulties getting banks to process federal Payroll Protection Program loans, problems cutting through “red tape” to get needed government approvals, staffing shortages, the inability to get accurate information, and disruptions in their supply chains. They also expressed dismay that it took so long to have available tests for employees, which were needed to start working. They also worry that a lack of consumer confidence right now will result in a drag on the economy.

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