Everybody knows his name: Ratzengberger talks manufacturing during factory visit

Posted by TGarland on 09/12/2013

Actor John Ratzenberger, widely known for his role as Cliff Clavin on Cheers, visited Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey last week. Ratzenberger toured the facilities — specifically the Prototype Integration Facility — as part of a tour to promote manufacturing throughout the United States.

Ratzenberger grew up in a manufacturing community, he said during his tour:

My mother was in manufacturing, as were my uncles and most of my neighbors. As a matter fact, my uncles helped build the Bridgeport machines that you use right here (at Picatinny).

So yeah, everybody knows his name — or can, at least, hum the song from the sitcom. But here's something that you might not know: The Alliance for American Manufacturing and America's mailman go way back.

In 2007, AAM and Ratzenberger launched the national conversation about shoring up domestic manufacturing with a nationwide series of town halls. The Keep it Made in America tour traveled to seven cities in 12 weeks to highlight the demand among voters that the 2008 presidential candidates address the challenges facing American manufacturing and the workforce it employs.

Those town halls sparked a debate, underlined at a Manufacturing Forum for presidential candidates in April 2008. At the forum, a freshman senator named Barack Obama had this to say:

China must stop manipulating its currency because it’s not fair to American manufacturers, it’s not fair to you, and we are going to change it when I am president.

Soon after, that senator was elected as the 44th president of the United States and AAM brought the Made in America message to center stage.

It’s been about a while since AAM and Ratzenberger started the manufacturing conversation, and a few years since we parted ways. But in the meantime we've accomplished a lot: America has added over half a million manufacturing jobs since 2010 (though that growth has since stalled out); manufacturing was a hot topic in last year's State of the Union’s address; and the most common advertising image of the 2012 elections was the American factory floor.

Get all caught up on AAM's first five years by checking out our Blueprint for the Future. It'll let you know where we've been — and where AAM is going.

But don't forget: Our work can't be successful without your support. Will you sign up and help us keep it Made in America?

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