Third district congressional candidate Jeff Lamberti today visited the Newton home of Maytag and criticized his opponent’s call for federal officials to block the appliance maker’s sale to rival Whirlpool. Congressman Leonard Boswell and Senator Tom Harkin, both democrats, have asked the Justice Department to block Maytag’s sale on the grounds it would create a monopoly.

Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny and co-president of the Iowa Senate, says almost every other alternative beyond the sale to Whirlpool is worse for the community and workers. He says, “If the merger is blocked and Maytag remains a stand-alone company, it is highly likely that they’re going to close that plant or go bankrupt.” Lamberti says another alternative would be sale to a Chinese or Korean company and he says he doesn’t think anybody in Iowa wants that. Lamberti says he thinks Washington is pressuring Boswell and Harkin to try and make this a political issue.

Lamberti earlier criticized Boswell for not doing anything on the Maytag issue and Boswell responded by saying Lamberti should “cool his jets” and stop trying to make it a political issue. But Lamberti says it’s something that has to be addressed. Lamberti says he thinks it needs to be mention because he says he doesn’t think blocking the sale is in Maytag’s best interest. He says,”Certainly we’re in political campaigns here and campaigns are about differences. And I thought this was such a stark difference of opinion on the future of the workers here and the future of the plant that it called for there to be a response.”

Lamberti says the state has to do everything it can to save the jobs at Maytag.
He says, “I think it’s safe to say that nobody in Newton and nobody in the state of Iowa kind of likes where we’re at with respect to the future of Maytag. We would all love to see the Maytag of 50 years ago or 20 years ago. But the fact of the matter is, it’s time for us to start looking to the future and how we work to save the jobs here.”

Congressman Boswell says a rival bid from Ripplewood Holdings for Maytag would’ve had a better outcome, and maybe they could purchase the Newton facility and keep the jobs in Newton.