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I was saddened to read the stark headline in the Aug. 22 News Tribune: “Duluth’s GP plant closing; 141 to lose jobs.” What a blow this summer after our devastating flooding.
I do wonder how many readers knew immediately what GP stood for in the headline. It stands for Georgia-Pacific, of course, the corporation that owns the 64-year-old hardboard plant on our waterfront that most folks around here think of as Superwood. According to reports, Georgia-Pacific purchased Superwood in the 1980s, and in 2005 Georgia-Pacific itself was purchased by Koch Industries Inc.
In this election year, the name Koch is becoming more and more prominent as billionaire industrialists David H. and Charles G. Koch, well known for their conservative politics and Tea Party support, spend millions to influence the congressional elections in favor of Republicans as well as to make President Obama a one-term president.
Since Koch interests own Georgia-Pacific and Georgia Pacific runs Duluth’s Superwood, wouldn’t it be nice if conservative Republican 8th District Rep. Chip Cravaack could persuade the Koch brothers to order GP to reverse its decision and save those 141 jobs in his district? Indeed, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to learn that the Koch-backed Super PAC Americans for Prosperity already is contributing to the Cravaack campaign in its efforts to elect more right-wing Republicans to Congress.
If the Koch brothers would really like to help Cravaack get re-elected, they could order their Georgia-Pacific minions to keep our Superwood plant operating — instead of gutting it and putting it up for sale, leaving in its wake 141 Northland workers wondering what the future holds for them and their families.