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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

VP Pence tours Kokomo’s GM plant, thanks workers assembling ventilators

The visit included a tour of the plant, an explanation of how the life-saving ventilators are made.

KOKOMO, Ind. (WTHR) — Vice President Mike Pence toured Kokomo’s GM plant Thursday and thanked workers who are assembling ventilators to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

“To be among heroes in the Hoosier state who are saving lives all across America, we are so proud of each and every one of you,” he said.

Pence leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force which meets daily in Washington D.C. to manage the fight at the federal level. This visit was a chance for him to see a big part of the fight in person that's taking place in his home state.

The visit included a tour of the plant, an explanation of how the life-saving ventilators are made, and a chance to talk one on one with some of the workers putting the machines together.

“It’s an honor to be a part of all this...fighting this virus," one employee told Pence. “And hopefully these ventilators from Kokomo will get out there and save America.”

Indiana Democrats called the visit a photo op.

Hoosiers don’t need a photo op — we need tests, we need protective equipment, and we need leadership,” said Indiana Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Ganapini. “On every count, this administration has been totally ineffective in responding to this crisis, and Hoosiers are paying the price.”

GM partnered with Ventec and is hiring about 1,000 temporary workers to assemble the ventilators for the federal government.

They’ve already rolled out the first batch ahead of schedule.

“Being among people who put together this plant in 17 days and produced the first ventilator in three days and in less than a month have produced 600 ventilators for the American people, I couldn’t be more inspired,” Pence said.