KOKOMO, Ind.–Vice Pres. Mike Pence toured the GM plant in Kokomo Thursday, a plant that was converted from making cars to ventilators in 17 days. Pence and General Motors CEO Mary Barra pointed out that 600 vents have already been made at the plant.
“We have moved quickly and have been talking about the fact that this all came together in about a month,” said Barra. “In my 40 years at General Motors, this is one of the proudest moments of my career.”
LISTEN VP Pence speaks to GM workers
“It’s amazing to think that this floor was empty about a month ago,” said Pence, who toured the plant, he said, on behalf of the president on a mission to thank the employees. “And General Motors, Ventec, and the State of Indiana, at the urging of the federal government put together a partnership.”
Pence’s message was mainly one of thanks, saying he believes that history will record the vital role of Hoosiers in manufacturing ventilators.
“I’m so proud of all of the volunteers here that are making this incredible partnership happen,” he said. “You all are part of our nation’s mission. It’s a mission to make sure that every American struggling with the coronavirus has the same level of health care and treatment that we would want for any member of our family.”
Pence said that no American who has needed a ventilator has been denied one.
In Indiana over 80 percent of vents are available. Some states, like Washington, have been able to send ventilators where the need is greater, as their populations have recovered.
Pence spoke with people, while wearing a mask, who were building the vents, while being given information about the process by Ventec CEO Chris Kiple.
Dr. Woody Myers, former state health commissioner now running for governor as a Democrat, said he believes Pence and Gov. Eric Holcomb should be more focused on getting Indiana’s economy back into shape.
“While the manufacture of ventilators at the Kokomo GM plant is incredibly important for preparedness, we must do more as a state to also help small businesses,” he said. “Rather than touring a large business with his former boss, Vice President Pence, perhaps Governor Holcomb should read over my plan and act now to help the lifeblood of our economy.”