Virginia's governor has a clear message for Ford Motor Co. as it reportedly searches for a site to build a $3.5 billion battery plant that would create 2,500 jobs: Get lost.
Glenn Youngkin told the automaker that the state isn't interested in the project, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported last week. At issue is Ford's partnership with a Chinese battery maker, Contemporary Amperex Technology.
"While Ford is an iconic American company, it became clear that this proposal would serve as a front for the Chinese Communist Party, which could compromise our economic security and Virginians' personal privacy," a Youngkin spokeswoman said in a statement given to the Times-Dispatch. "Virginians can be confident that companies with known ties to the Chinese Communist Party won't receive a leg up from the Commonwealth's economic incentive packages. When the potentially damaging effects of the deal were realized, the plant proposal never reached a final discussion stage."
Democrats in the Virginia General Assembly accused Youngkin, a possible Republican candidate for president next year, of putting his political aspirations above his constituents' best interests. The 3,500-acre potential plant site is in one of the poorest areas of the state.
"To deny jobs because you're in last place in Republican presidential primaries [is] gubernatorial malpractice," state Sen. Scott Surovell told the newspaper. "I mean, this is clearly just obvious to me that the governor's in some kind of out-China-bashing-contest with [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis and Gov. Greg Abbott out of Texas."
Ford also has been considering Michigan for the battery plant, according to Bloomberg.
Virginia had a Ford assembly plant in Norfolk for 82 years until it closed in 2007.