As families in Missouri continue to recover from the economic recession, we need pro-growth policies that encourage innovation and put more Americans back to work. In Missouri, we’re fortunate to be home to world-class research institutions and innovative manufacturers, large and small, which are ideally situated to propel us forward in advanced manufacturing. 

In 2012, the manufacturing sector in Missouri represented 11 percent of our state’s total employment and contributed more than $32 billion towards the gross state product. Missourians working in the manufacturing sector also brought home salaries that were 21 percent higher than any other industry in Missouri. 

In order to ensure manufacturing remains an essential component to our economy, we need a way to make it easier for manufacturers in Missouri and across the nation to adopt new and transformative technologies and techniques to stay competitive. 

That’s why I joined U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio) in introducing the bipartisan “Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act” (RAMI), bipartisan legislation that would establish a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI) to position the United States as the global leader in advanced manufacturing once again. 

By bringing together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies and all levels of government, we can create a network of manufacturing innovation hubs across the country, which will focus America's efforts to develop and produce the next generation of manufactured products. 

This bill will give innovators like Dr. Terry Brewer, founder and CEO of Brewer Science headquartered in Rolla, additional opportunities they need to remain competitive. Brewer Science has consistently been at the forefront in developing and manufacturing innovative products and technology and continues to create jobs in a tough economic environment. 

A version of this bill that was introduced by U.S. Representatives Tom Reed (N.Y.) and Joe Kennedy (Mass.) passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September 2014. The Senate should also pass this important, bipartisan legislation. At a time when Washington is caught in partisan gridlock, we need to work together to pass bipartisan, common sense bills that spur job creation and ensure Missouri manufacturing remains competitive in a global economy. 

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt is a member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

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