State Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) had the pleasure of meeting with John Ratzenberger during his recent visit to the area. Ratzenberger, a Bridgeport native, is known for the role of Cliff the mailman on Cheers, for voicing characters in the Pixar movies, and for his advocacy of American manufacturing.
    “John has a message I embrace whole-heartedly: We must restore manufacturing, which made Connecticut prosperous and made our nation strong,” said Markley. “John is promoting skills training for the good manufacturing jobs still available, the jobs which must come back to restore our economy.  “

    “I’ve worked with educators and businesspeople here in Southington to inform our students of the opportunities available to them in manufacturing, if they gain the skills they need. These are good paying jobs, interesting and satisfying jobs.
    “I know from personal experience,” Markley said. “My father was a small manufacturer in Southington. I worked in the shop with him, and shared the camaraderie of men and women pulling together to get the job done, and the satisfaction of a turning out a useful and precise product. I saw how his success benefited families throughout our town.”   

    “Part of the problem is the media and Hollywood often portray manufacturing in a poor light, denigrating anyone who works with their hands,” Ratzenberger said. “We need to inspire the next generation before we run out of people who can make a building and invent things.”

    Markley and Ratzenberger met privately before a recent appearance in Meriden. “It was a real delight to get to know John,” said Markley. “He has a tremendous gift for communicating a message we desperately need in Connecticut. His Mobile Outreach Skills Training program is preparing people for good jobs throughout America. I admire his initiative, and I hope he’ll be an important voice for progress here in Connecticut.”