By Melissa Melendez for RealClearPolicy

Ford Motor Company is an iconic American brand that gave us the original Model-T, the classic Thunderbird, the groundbreaking Shelby GT 350, and, of course, the revered Mustang.

The story of Ford is really the story of America told in microcosm: an ever-unfolding saga of overcoming struggle with grit; progress through innovation; and the bold and sometimes daunting belief in bringing to life what is possible but not yet is – all thanks to the potent combination of American ingenuity and unrelenting perseverance.

Unfortunately for Ford, those days seem to be far in the rearview mirror. And Americans have California governor Gavin Newsom to thank for it.

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Earlier this year, Gov. Newsom toured Ford’s Greenfield Labs research facility in Silicon Valley. He was there to tout a nearly $2 billion investment of California taxpayer dollars in cleaner and more cost-effective transportation as a component of the Golden State’s aggressive emissions and climate agenda.

Critical to his policy prescriptions are a swift shift to no-emission vehicles, including for Ford, whose gas-guzzling F-150 remains the most popular pickup truck in America.

Of course, Gov. Newsom wasn’t in Palo Alto that day to tout the F-150; his visit was focused on the news Ford Mustang Mach-E, which, unlike its fuel-injected predecessor, is a 100% zero-emission electric vehicle (EV). It represents the future of the automotive sector globally – unsurprisingly, China currently dominates the market – and could be a major economic and environmental opportunity for the United States.

At this point, you may be wondering where the problem is, and you’d be forgiven for not knowing. What Gov. Newsom didn’t mention during his taxpayer-funded trip to Palo Alto was that the entirety of Ford’s global production run of Mustang Mach-Es are made not in California – or even in America – but, rather, in Mexico.

This type of chicanery is old hat for the governor. Instead of going to Palo Alto to celebrate an announcement of the Mustang Mach-Es as part of a bold climate and economic vision that will benefit Californians with increased in-state investment and good, hardworking jobs, this $2 billion project, funded by California taxpayers, will see its most tangible benefits go south of the border.

This is not lost on the Mexican business and political community. On March 2, an editorial appeared in Mexican newspaper Mexico Now. The author, Julio Di-Bella Roldán, vice president of public relations for the El Gran Bajío regional chamber of commerce, noted the significant financial outlays made by Ford into the country and the obvious resulting benefits: “These U.S. capital investments in facility upgrades, skills training, and new job opportunities will benefit all of Mexico, helping sustain the recovery of millions of Mexican jobs lost during the pandemic and imparting vast economic benefits well beyond a single factory.”

Roldán also refers to this as an “increasingly familiar story,” raising the obvious question about what our leaders here at home are doing to protect American jobs and support a green, American manufacturing vision for the future, with EVs aplenty.

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Plainly speaking, the governor’s event did nothing more than give Ford credit for its investment in EV technology with merely the appearance that the state would reap some direct benefit. Instead, jobs that should be going to hard-working Californians, and Ford’s capital investments in a greener and cleaner future, have ended up in Mexico. This makes the United States less globally competitive, especially with China, and, frankly, less green.

Men like Henry Ford built America. His story is our story; as Americans, we all share in his legacy of hard work and stick-to-itiveness that gave us the foundations of American enterprise.

By contrast, the governor was satisfied with what amounts to a very expensive photo op – all while consigning the possibilities of a vibrant, green, American-engineered economic future to a foreign country. That’s a legacy I know most Californians – and most Americans – would rather not embrace.

Syndicated with permission from Real Clear Wire.

State Senator Melissa Melendez represents California’s 28th Senate district.

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