Manufacturing is critical to the health of both Illinois and the entire United States, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner said Monday during a special "I Make America" event at Woods Equipment in Oregon, Illinois.
Rauner joined Jerry Johnson, AEM director and president farm ranch and agriculture division, Blount International, at the company's Illinois campus, where he toured the factory and met with Woods employees before delivering remarks on manufacturing and taking questions from the crowd.
"Go, Woods. Go, manufacturing," Rauner told the gathering of about 300. "America is a great nation because we make stuff. We are here to celebrate made in America."
The visit by the governor was held in conjunction with an I Make America event at Woods. The company, a division of Blount International, is a multiple-time winner of AEM’s Pillar of the Industry Award, which represents a high level of engagement in both IMA and AEM overall advocacy activities.
The visit was Rauner's first to Woods Equipment. The governor kicked off the visit with a short meeting with Johnson, AEM President Dennis Slater and Blount Executive Vice President Jim Barrett, the chairman of the I Make America Advisory Committee.
Rauner then toured the Woods factory floor, where he had a chance to see some of the company's advanced manufacturing capabilities and product assembly, including the company's well-known Batwing Cutters.
"Having the governor at Woods is exceptionally important," Johnson told the Sauk Valley News. "It means a lot to the company, but it means more to our team members. They get a chance to meet the governor."
The event was the seventh I Make America event for 2016. More events are on the horizon, as the campaign picks up steam heading into the summer of the 2016 election season.