EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
Peter Navarro (left), assistant to President Donald Trump and director of the Office of Trade & Manufacturing, talks about the great shipyard and its workers Monday at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Above right, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer also talked about the LCS program.
EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard

Peter Navarro (left), assistant to President Donald Trump and director of the Office of Trade & Manufacturing, talks about the great shipyard and its workers Monday at Fincantieri Marinette Marine. Above right, U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer also talked about the LCS program.

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MARINETTE — The role that Fincantieri Marinette Marine and its employees play in the Trump Administration’s defense and economy plans were discussed during an event held at the shipyard Tuesday.

This event was one of several stops of a Defense Contractors Tour made by members of the Trump Administration and Wisconsin Congressmen. Beloit and Oshkosh were also stops on the same tour.

The Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer;Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing and assistant to President Donald Trump, Peter Navarro; and U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisconsin, were all present during the tour of Marinette Marine and spoke during the event.

Gallagher opened the event by telling the crowd he is proud to represent Marinette in Congress and he sees the hard work the community put into the economy.

“It is always incredible to visit the shipyard and see the hard work that you do, every single day,” Gallagher told the crowd. “I’m not going to lie to you, politics can be a crazy business, but at the end of the day, I have the easiest job in the world, because I get to represent Northeast Wisconsin and Marinette in Congress. I get to represent the hardest-working community in America, a place where it still means something to be a good neighbor.”

“Thank you for putting your hard work into every single ship that comes out of this yard,” Gallagher said. “I think it’s a testament to hard work that the LCS 25 will bear the name of this city — Marinette.” 

Gallagher said when politicians discuss “economic growth,” what they are talking about is the workforce of the country. “At the end of the day, what they’re talking about it what you do, by coming to work every single day, you are providing for your family but you are also providing for your country a way to stay safe and stay strong for a long time.”

Navarro said there are two major things that Trump cares deeply about: The economy and security. 

“One of the things we do here (at Marinette Marine) is a merger of that. President Trump says: ‘Economic security is national security.’”

Navarro said the president has changed “the culture of Washington,” and has helped to ensure the defense budget is well-funded.

“One of my jobs at the White House is to ensure we have enough money in the defense budget so we can have ships like this built. That has been a uncertainty before President Trump came along,” Navarro said. 

“The other thing I do is the arms transfers. We’re going to be building four ships that Saudi Arabia will be buying,” he continued. “We want to strengthen our defense and industrial base and manufacturing center in a way that improves national security.”

“The state of Wisconsin is the manufacturing powerhouse of this country, you hit well above your rate,” he added.

Spencer said he is happy to visit Marinette for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason is the ability to see the work put into naval ships first-hand.

“Being out of the Pentagon and seeing places and the products that you all built and that recharges the heart,” Spencer said. “Know in your hearts that their are sailors and marines all around the world who count on your products and people in this country who thank you indirectly for what you’re doing, so they can live the lives that they live. That is something not a lot of industries can boast, but you can boast on the top of the hill in the loudest voice.”

He said the ships built by Fincantieri Marinette Marine are proof that the U.S. government, and politicians, are working.

Spencer also noted that he believes the LCS line of ships will play an integral part in future U.S. security.  

“It can be a primary backbone to how the Navy fights going forward,” Spencer said. “It’s all about distributed maritime operations. A lot of ships, with a lot of weapons, confusing the enemy. The LCS will be in the heart of that whole thing. I am a big fan of LCS.”

Spencer said there are plans to open bids for new products soon and he looks forward to seeing Marinette Marine’s bids on future projects.