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Lawmakers and business leaders promote manufacturing subsidies in visit to Dickinson

Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing served as the backdrop for a discussion centered on boosting export opportunities for American firms.

KMM Tour
Prominent political and industry leaders tour the Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing facility in Dickinson.
Contributed / Molly Block
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DICKINSON — On Monday, North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, a member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, hosted Export-Import Bank Director and former Congressman Spencer Bachus, R-AL, in Dickinson for a round-table discussion aimed at supporting job expansion in export opportunities for American businesses.

Cramer praised the Ex-Im Bank for what it does to support jobs and manufacturing in North Dakota.

“The bank ensures businesses in our state and throughout the country can compete on a level playing field in the global marketplace,” Cramer stated in a press release. “It provides critical financing to American exporters to ship our goods, innovation, and freedom across the world while supporting small businesses and jobs at home.”

KMM Roundtable
From left, Dickinson Mayor Scott Decker, Ex-Im Bank Director Spencer Bachus, U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer and KMM VP of Business Development Kristin Hedger during a roundtable discussion on manufacturing.
Contributed / Molly Block

President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Ex-Im Bank by executive order in 1934 with a stated purpose of providing financial aid to support the exchange of commodities between the U.S. and other countries. It finances global trade projects with taxpayer guaranteed loans that private lenders view as too risky. According to the organization’s website, the mission has expanded to include supporting American jobs.

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During this visit Cramer and Bachus toured the Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing Dickinson facility, which employs more than 300 people. The plant supplies wire harnesses, fiber optic cables and repair parts for both commercial and military aircraft. Some of these aircraft are purchased by companies that utilize Ex-Im backed bank loans to participate in the global marketplace.

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Kristin Hedger, Vice President of Business Development at KMM, said she appreciates Cramer for stepping to the forefront of this issue.

“We value the opportunity to show, firsthand, the opportunities afforded to our KMM team. North Dakotans contribute to the elite aerospace supply chain on a global scale and the loans issued through the Ex-Im bank,” Hedger said. “We are grateful to Senator Cramer for his leadership in retaining authorization of Ex-Im that is so critical to jobs in this community.”

KMM Dickinson
KMM Operator Havolin Maxon terminates a wire during a shift at the company's Dickinson plant in April 2022.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

Yet, some of Cramer’s Senate colleagues such as Ted Cruz, R-TX, and Pat Toomey, R-PA, have denounced the program as “corporate welfare” for politically connected industries.

"There is no reason that taxpayers should have to back domestic financing when we live in a highly developed market economy in which promising businesses have access to capital on competitive terms," Toomey said earlier this year.

From 2014 to 2018 the bank was essentially closed, as conservative members of Congress suspended its ability to offer loans. It was reauthorized by Congress and President Trump in 2018, then expanded in April by the Biden Administration through their “Make More in America” initiative.

Other stories by Jason O'Day
This year alone, Choice Bank has supported 12 North Dakota childcare providers with $100,000 in grant funding aimed at easing the strain of daycare shortages in rural areas.

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in rural southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge.
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