Vice President Harris visits St. Cloud to champion electric vehicle production

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Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday visited St. Cloud, where she highlighted the Biden administration’s investment in electric vehicles.

The White House said it’s part of a two-day “travel swing” meant to amplify President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. The vice president also talked about the president’s economic plan at New Flyer, a bus producer leading the switch to zero-emission buses.

“Majority of buses run on diesel fuel. Well, here’s the thing: Diesel exhaust is a poison,” Harris said.

So far, the company’s roughly 700 workers have created electric vehicles that have traveled more than 20 million miles throughout the United States and Canada.

Harris said electric vehicles are cheaper to run, are more reliable and will produce high-paying jobs. She called the work being done in St. Cloud an example of America’s future.

“Electric buses are key to the future of public transportation,” the vice president said.

Before speaking, the vice president toured New Flyer’s assembly plant at 2:10 p.m. after arriving at St. Cloud’s Regional Airport at 1:25 p.m.

However, her visit brings some criticism – some Minnesota state lawmakers used her visit to voice their disappointment with the Biden administration.

A group of Minnesota House Republicans held a press conference at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss recent actions by the administration that target the state’s energy sector.

During that news conference, Rep. Spencer Igo said an area near the Boundary Waters has valuable minerals for electric vehicles that should be used, but the Biden administration recently put a 20-year ban on mining in that particular area.

“The Biden administration and the Walz administration are failing Minnesotans, they’re failing union workers – one of these copper nickel mines produces the materials needed for these electric vehicles, produces millions of hours of union construction jobs, not to mention the hundreds of union jobs that are combined with that and all the spin off jobs that keep greater Minnesota alive and well,” said Rep. Igo.

Their full news conference can be found below.

Also, the Minnesota Republican Party issued the following statement ahead of the news conference:

“Today’s visit from Vice President Harris is more political theater from the Biden Administration and Minnesota Democrats meant to distract Americans from their record of failure.

During the President’s State of the Union speech, he said he wants to use American resources to build infrastructure and EVs. But, just last month, the Biden administration banned mining in Minnesota that could provide substantial portions of the precious metals required to produce the batteries and components needed to build EVs and to support the other crucial infrastructure projects.

As Congressman Stauber pointed out, ‘Not even one month ago, Joe Biden signed an agreement to fund mining projects in Chinese-owned mines in the Congo, where over 40,000 children work as slaves in forced labor and inhumane conditions with no environmental protections.’

Democrats elected to govern our state and nation need to quit pushing ideologically extreme policies and start using common sense. Our own Governor Walz is embracing the same extreme policy as Biden and Harris when it comes to EVs and clean energy: He is mandating their use while requiring u to rely on foreign countries to provide the resources necessary to produce them.

We call on Governor Walz to put domestic mining and human rights back on the table and start working for the benefit of all Minnesotans. He needs to tell President Biden to rescind the ban on domestic mining in Minnesota.”

David Hann, Chairman of Minnesota’s Republican Party

The last time Harris was in Minnesota was last October, when she visited the Twin Cities area and advocated for protecting reproductive rights.

On Wednesday, Harris was in Atlanta, Georgia. President Biden spent part of the day in Madison, Wisconsin.