Lorain residents hopeful after President Trump promises to build with American steel

Councilmember Angel Arroyo hopes the President's plan brings jobs back to Lorain. (Source: WOIO)
Councilmember Angel Arroyo hopes the President's plan brings jobs back to Lorain. (Source: WOIO)

LORAIN, OH (WOIO) - Steel workers in northeast Ohio may be happy to have heard President Donald Trump talk about creating jobs during Tuesday's Joint Address, especially those in hard-hit Lorain.

"We have cleared the way for the construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access Pipelines hereby creating tens of thousands of jobs -- and I've issued a new directive that new American pipelines be made with American steel," Trump said Tuesday night.

Many of the formerly bustling steel mills are now shut down or idling. People that spoke with Cleveland 19 are wondering if this is all talk, or if they could see more jobs back at the steel mill in the future.

For those who drive down Route 57 in Lorain, it's clear to see the city has had better days.

"Back in the day Lorain was booming with the steel mill and plant over there. The shipyard. Now Lorain is dead, jobs are gone," said Kimberly Rogers.

Her dad and two brothers worked in the mills. She says workers gave their blood and sweat there to build better lives for their families.

When asked if she thought there is hope for the future, Rogers said, "No."

City councilmember Angel Arroyo understands that despair.

"I'm a third generation. I came here because my grandfathers came in 1946 as some of the original Puerto Ricans to come to the steel mill. I have an uncle that's been there 37 years that's laid off right now," Arroyo said.

The loss of jobs has trickled down to hurt the economy, and there are signs of a dwindling population everywhere.

"As you can see right here, this traffic light is going to be removed because there's not as much traffic going in and out of the city," Arroyo said, pointing to a blinking traffic light at the intersection of 24th Street and Pearl.

Arroyo heard President Trump's promise to use American-made steel Tuesday night. Even as a Democrat, he's giving him a chance.

"My first thought is I hope he brings that to the city of Lorain. We had steel mills that employed 9-12,000 people or more, which now employ if we're lucky, 300 people right now," Arroyo said.

Rogers might not be optimistic, but she knows what her city needs to survive.

"I think we need to keep our jobs here in America, especially in Lorain," she said.

The American Iron and Steel Institute says using American steel "will go a long way toward revitalizing our infrastructure and rebuilding our roads and bridges."

But the United Steelworkers say they don't expect this to restore the industry.

No plan has been announced yet to bring jobs to the steel industry.

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