Young visits high-tech Columbus company

One of Columbus’ high-tech companies received a visit Thursday afternoon from Sen. Todd Young, R-Indiana.

Indiana’s senior senator spoke with some of the 40 employees at Precise Tooling Solutions, a specialty manufacturer that builds and repairs injection tooling.

Young, who resides in Center Grove, told the workers at the Scott Drive facility that they are “on the front lines of a manufacturing revolution in this country.” He also emphasized it is important that the United States continues to lead the world in manufacturing.

When Precise Tooling Solutions CEO Don Dumoulin opened the floor for questions, Young heard a number questions that seem to reflect what is on the minds of many Americans.

“Do you see a time coming when the government will work together in a bipartisan and civil way going forward?” employee Ron Kraft asked.

Young replied he has “incredibly principled disagreements” with both Democrats and Republicans, but different opinions should not obscure common ground that both major parties have or will discover.

For example, Young said he is now working with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.

“It’s kind of a Felix and Oscar ‘Odd Couple’ situation, but Sen. Schumer and I have discovered we both dislike how China does business,” Young said.

That has led to a partnership between Young and Schumer on an effort to make sure the United States does basic research and development in cutting-edge technologies like robotics, quantum computing and artificial intelligence, the senator said. This partnership also invests in people, so Americans workers is capable of utilizing those technologies, he added.

Young also is working with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, on the Apprenticeship Hubs Across America Act that expands the registered apprenticeship model to high-growth job sectors.

Although Young said there is more bipartisan cooperation going on in Washington than most people realize,there are members of Congress who don’t look favorably on this level of bipartisanship.

“It’s not always fashionable and you are apt to be misunderstood if you work with people on the other side of the aisle,” Young said. “If you do it, there’s an assumption that you share all the views of the other person.”

But since the country is going through a rough patch, Young said he feels it’s patriotic to do what is in the best interest of constituents.

“We are going to have to navigate globalization meets urbanization meets automation meets hollowed-out communities,” Young said. “All the things that make Americans angry because politicians aren’t paying enough attention. But our challenges are much fewer than our opportunities as a country.”

Another employee question came from Trenton Ford, who asked Young what he thought of the Biden administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill known as the American Jobs Plan.

Young said the proposed bill calls for advancements he supports, such as broadband internet expansion, upgrades for roads and bridges and improving ports and waterway systems.

However, there also are items in the plan that Young said he will strongly question when he returns to Washington, D.C.

“Mainly, the importance of some of those investments at this time,” Young said. “I also question whether that amount of money should be spent, as opposed to a more modest amount.”

The senator said there are creative ways of financing some of what is in the infrastructure bill calls for by bringing in private investment; however, he believes the Republicans and Democrats will eventually “hash things out.”

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Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, also was in Columbus on Thursday, visiting Toyota Material Handling to tour the facility and learn more about this forklift manufacturing plant and its importance to the local economy.

“I built a business on Main Street, and I know there’s more wisdom on the factory floor than on the Senate floor. Toyota Material Handling has been a pillar of the local community in Columbus creating jobs for Hoosiers for over 30 years, and I was glad I could stop in to learn more about their facility as I tour Indiana talking to Hoosiers about getting our economy back to its pre-COVID heights,” he said.