TOWN OF SALINA – Jerry Wojcik has seen the decline of manufacturing in Central New York first hand.
His father worked at the Miller Brewing Co. plant in Oswego County, north of Syracuse, which closed in 1994. His father-in-law worked at the sprawling New Process Gear auto parts plant in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt that closed in 2012. And his neighbor across the street was laid off last week from his job as a tool-and-die maker at a factory whose owner is closing up shop and moving the work to Mexico. He’s in his 60s.
“There’s nothing for him to do. It’s a shame,” said Wojcik, 47, a manager for a retail rent-to-own company in the Syracuse area. He spoke after voting for Donald Trump on Tuesday at a polling place in a Holiday Inn in the suburb of Salina.
He said the region still is struggling to recover from the economic downturn.
The T-shirt he was wearing sums up his views. The front has an image of one of the “Don’t Tread on Me” snakes; the back has a large middle finger sticking up, surrounded by the words, “Right here, federals.”
He worked on Ron Paul’s campaign in 2008. He said he wanted to write in the name of Rand Paul, Ron’s son, but couldn’t, so he voted for Trump.
“He’s not a racist. The guy’s a businessman,” Wojcik said. “I’d rather see a guy that’s employed people, paid salaries, actually helped families.”