Letter to the Editor: Chronicle Editorial Board Gets Factory Closure Wrong

On May 16, the editorial board of The Chronicle published a poorly researched opinion piece on my campaign ad, which featured the closure of the Camas, Washington pulp mill.

The article quoted extensively from comments by the factory’s lawyer, who claimed that “part of the factory was closed in 2017” due to “the continued decline in the use of copy paper”. Based on this excuse, The Chronicle claimed that Georgia-Pacific was simply following the law of supply and demand.

In fact, the DOL concluded that the closure of the pulp mill was due to competition from Chinese companies. The comments offered by the lawyer were the excuses used in an attempt to deny the workers their retraining benefits. Similarly, union leaders at the Camas mill said the pulp mill closed because Asian markets were offering pulp at lower prices. To repeat without thinking that the plant closure was due to a drop in demand, rather than globalization and outsourcing, is dishonest.

Koch Industries, owner of Georgia-Pacific, has been outsourcing Georgia-Pacific jobs for more than a decade, resulting in more than 2,000 layoffs nationwide. Last year, hundreds of jobs were lost at the McCall, Kentucky plant. Union leaders said the jobs had been outsourced to China. In response, Koch Industries recycled the same boilerplate excuse they had used for the Camas closure: a drop in the use of copy paper.

Koch Industries is not an American company if it outsources the lion’s share of its workforce to China. The endless pursuit of profit and rising stock prices with little or no consumer benefit is not worth destroying American families by taking away the jobs they have relied on for generations.

Establishment Republicans and Democrats have no qualms about destroying the American economy. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler received over $20,000 from Koch Industries. She was complicit in the economic destruction of the Pacific Northwest’s pulp and paper manufacturing base. The “America First” economic and manufacturing policy that I advocate is essential to the future success of our country.

Despite claiming that its article is a defense of the “free market”, The Chronicle’s editorial board is simply repeating the Koch family’s misinformation and lies, in order to damage my campaign and bail out Congresswoman Herrera Buetler.

Joe Kent

Congress candidate