Our community was dealt a devastating blow last week in the wake of Carrier’s announcement to export the jobs of thousands of hard-working Hoosiers to Mexico. In this waking nightmare, our citizens here on the West side are left reeling, as they struggle to find solid ground to stand on in this tumultuous time. Of the 2,100 jobs that will be lost, 1,400 of those come from the West side, leaving families scrambling to find other decent paying manufacturing jobs, after years of dedicated service to a company that was supposed to have their best interests, and the state’s best interests in mind.

Carrier has been unable to note any of the supposed "burdensome regulations" the company claims are responsible for the move, and has chosen to opt for a working environment in which they can pay foreign workers an unlivable American wage, rather than invest in a community that has continuously supported their growth and expansion. Indiana has often been said to have one of the most business friendly economic climates in the country, as we work hard to bring businesses and jobs here, but even that doesn’t seem to be enough for Carrier. Rather than continue to pay livable wages to our state’s manufacturing workers, the company has chosen to let greed guide their moral compass in their relentless pursuit of the dollar. This betrayal of Carrier’s employees and of the Indiana taxpayers, who invested in their job creation, is difficult to accept, and even more difficult to bounce back from.

While our entire state will suffer the effects of this distressing move, the real victims are the families who now must worry about what the future has in store for them. After years of work, and commitment to excellence, the men and women who worked day in and day out for Carrier are now faced with the potential of moving to find new jobs or risk economic ruin. These are hard-working Hoosiers who are simply working to put food on the tables for their families, trying to survive in an economic climate that has just recently begun to recover. Carrier has chosen to abandon their employees and the state of Indiana, and has walked over the people in our community, who were reaching for the American dream. These men and women have worked hard and put their lives into a company, which has left them by the wayside.

It will become the immediate focus of myself and our other local government officials, to heal the wounds left by Carrier’s sudden departure, and find careers for the thousands of Hoosiers left without a job. Our objective, first and foremost, is to get these men and women re-employed quickly, so as to avoid a lapse in income. Because as we know, a lapse in a paycheck has far reaching consequences, leading to a lapse in mortgage or rent payments, a lapse in grocery bills and a lapse in discretionary income that fuels our local economy. We need to focus on an immediate plan to get these Hoosiers back to work and keep their talents here in our state.

I am personally part of a task force created by Mayor Hogsett and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development’s rapid response team, focused on rebuilding our community getting these men and women back to work. It is our goal to connect these employees to companies where their skills will be valued and to invest in our communities and our citizens. Carrier’s objectionable departure from our community will have a strong and lasting impact, but our communities, our dedication to excellence and our workers are stronger, and we will overcome this setback as a unified state.

Karlee Macer is a state representative from House District 92.

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