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During La Crosse Visit, Pence Campaigns On Jobs, Vaccine & Energy

Chuck Quirmbach
Vice President Mike Pence campaigns in La Crosse, Wis. on Labor Day.

As Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris campaigned in the Milwaukee area Monday, Republican incumbent Mike Pence was in La Crosse.

It being Labor Day, Pence offered an optimistic view on what's happened since 22 million U.S. jobs were lost during the spring, as part of economic cutbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In the last four months alone, we've literally, literally, seen half the Americans that lost their jobs go back to work. And, that includes 200,000 Americans right here in Wisconsin. So, we're openin' up America again," he said.

Democrats say the jobs picture and the death toll from COVID-19 wouldn't have been so bad if the Trump administration had taken faster action against the coronavirus.

Pence is promising a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of the year. But he told utility workers at Dairyland Power Cooperative that there's another threat ahead for them — an economic one — if Democrat Joe Biden is elected president and Biden does more against climate change.

"And here at Dairyland Power, you deserve to know that Joe Biden and the radical left want to crush American energy, and American energy jobs," he said.

Pence also repeated what he said in Walworth County a couple weeks ago that California Sen. Harris should not have voted against the updated U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or USMCA, over concerns that the deal does too little to address climate change.

But Pence's host, Dairyland Power, has committed to diversifying its energy sources away from coal. A Dairyland spokeperson says the company will receive the entire output of a new 149 MW solar installation in Jefferson County. Commercial operation is planned for 2022.

Also,  the climate change plan Biden announced this summer would add more jobs for construction workers, scientists and engineers to build electricity-producing sources from wind and solar.

The Democrat would also continue generation from nuclear energy and hydropower.

During a news conference earlier Monday, critics said Pence and President Donald Trump are the ones threatening workers. Valerie Landowski is with AFSCME Wisconsin Council 32, a labor umbrella group representing nurses, child care providers, correctional officers and other occupations. Landowski said AFSCME members are on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Every move this administration has made has been a failed response to COVID-19. It's put working families underwater and it's risked the lives of hard-working Wisconsinites."

A teachers union leader, Kim Kohlhaas, also criticized Pence for many kids and teachers having to go back to school with what she said are inadequate protections.

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