Portman visits Van Wert ambulance plant

First Posted: 1/9/2015

VAN WERT — Sen. Rob Portman’s visit to a local manufacturer Friday focused on regulations and how he can help with them in Washington.

The stop was part of Portman’s visit to Northwest Ohio that started with a stop in Toledo to discuss human trafficking legislation, took him to a Bryan company and then to Braun in the afternoon.

“To the [Environmental Protection Agency], some of this might make sense, but let’s slow it down,” he said during the meeting with Braun Industries in Van Wert, a company that makes ambulances. “Washington has a lot of well-meaning regulations, but they overdo it sometimes.”

Some of the regulations have to do with safety, others with healthcare and still others with emissions.

The EPA’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFE standards were a topic of conversation during the senator’s visit.

“We have to be able to find a common ground that works,” said co-owner of Braun Industries, Scott Braun.

He is concerned with CAFE standards because complying with them may mean compromising weight and material of the ambulances he makes.

“There still is a need for large, medium-duty ambulances,” he said.

He said the company has a couple strategies it is considering to begin complying with the standards in 2017.

Braun was happy to have the senator come to his company for a tour, and for the opportunity to communicate the company’s needs when it comes to healthcare reform, environmental concerns and training and grants.

The company is family-owned and in its third generation of ownership. Portman believes it makes the highest quality ambulances in the world, he said.

“It’s been a great opportunity to get to know about one of our great manufacturers in Ohio,” he said. “They have a great track record. We’re very proud of them.”

Portman said he loves plant tours and wants to make sure Ohio continues to be a good place to do business.

“I didn’t realize we had manufacturers in Ohio making this quality of ambulances,” he said. “I like their approach. … It’s more costly at the outset, but it pays off in the long run.”

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