He Was a Democrat for 30 Years. Why This Former Steelworker Now Backs Trump.Gutting the job killing government regulations is step one.
For 17 years of his life, Roger Ramsey worked 80 hours a week as a maintenance technician for the Bethlehem Steel Company.
When the Sparrows Point, Maryland, steel mill closed, Ramsey was left wondering what the next step would be.
“I had spent 17 years of my life at that steel mill, and that’s when it hit me the most,” he told The Daily Signal.
“Everything that I had ever been promised—where if you work hard, you don’t screw up, then good things will come and in one fell swoop everything just slipped away—my mortgage, my kids’ college, it was all gone.”
Since Andrew Carnegie founded Carnegie Steel in 1892, steel has served as the backbone of the American manufacturing sector, but for many years the industry has been in a precipitous decline.
Bethlehem Steel was founded in 1857 and in 1916 purchased a steel plant at Sparrows Point, right outside of Baltimore. That facility quickly became not only Bethlehem Steel’s most productive mill, but the most productive one in the world. By the 1970s, Sparrows Point was the largest steel plant in the nation in size, personnel, and capacity.
But, as domestic steel became less prominent, the mill also took a hit. Sparrows Point’s first layoffs began in 1971, with nearly 3,000 people losing their jobs. In 1985, employment fell below 10,000 for the first time since the Great Depression.
Bethlehem Steel, once the nation’s largest steel company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001.
Various companies purchased the Sparrows Point mill from 2003 until 2012 when the mill officially closed its doors, leaving thousands of mill workers jobless.
Even though the manufacturing industry is “not what it used to be,” Ramsey said he has a newfound hope.
On his fourth day in office, President Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum calling for the construction of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. Congruently, he announced in a separate presidential memorandum that the nation’s pipelines, from that point on, will be built using American-made steel.
“We’re going to put a lot of … steelworkers back to work,” Trump said. “We’ll build our own pipelines, we will build our own pipes.”
On Friday, the State Department finally approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Many steelworkers, like Ramsey, say this promise of domestic steel is a step in the right direction for America’s declining manufacturing industry.