Thursday, July 15, 2004

Hayden criticized for China seminar

Democrats point to firm's advice

By Patrick Crowley
Enquirer staff writer

WILDER - In his statehouse campaign, Wilder Republican Mark Hayden has talked about bringing jobs and economic development to Campbell County's 67th House District.

Hayden, a lawyer, is even planning to bring Gov. Ernie Fletcher to the district to tout his job-creation plans.

But Campbell County Democrats have seized on a seminar offered by Hayden's law firm that instructed businesses how to establish manufacturing plants in China.

"I believe in outsourcing products, not people," said Dennis Keene, the Wilder Democrat challenging Hayden in the November election. "Kentucky jobs need to stay right here."

Hayden is a partner and business litigator in the Cincinnati office of Greenbaum Doll & McDonald. The firm sponsored a March 3 seminar in Louisville entitled, "Exploring the Options for Area Manufacturers."

"Join us as we will help you discover for yourself the opportunities which China holds," reads a brochure on the seminar. "You're invited to explore the 'why's' and 'how's' of setting up manufacturing facilities in China."

Hayden said he was in no way connected with the seminar and does not advise his clients on doing business overseas.

Nor, he said, does the firm encourage businesses to do business in China.

But he vigorously defended his firm's activities and accused Keene of being "all about gutter politics and cheap shots."

"We provide legal advice to our clients, and they decide whether it will be advantageous to conduct business in other parts of the world," Hayden said.

"We live in a global economy, and many Kentucky businesses sell and distribute their products around the world. Our firm helps Kentucky businesses grow and flourish."

Hayden said he is concerned about job creation and favors changes in the state's tax code and tax incentives "to discourage businesses from moving to China."

Keene's campaign said Newport Steel Corp. in Wilder, one of the district's largest employers, has lost more than 500 jobs to countries such as China, where steel is produced more cheaply.

"Our steel melting and rolling equipment has been shut down and sold to the Chinese," Benny Ray Leger, a Newport Steel employee and president of United Steel Workers of America Local 1870, said in a statement released by Keene's campaign.

"These jobs are quickly disappearing from America," Leger said. "We need lawmakers that will keep jobs in Kentucky."

The Democrats say Hayden has raised about $12,000, or 40 percent, in campaign contributions from his law partners.

"These are the same partners who teach local businesses how to send jobs to Communist China," said Ken Mullikin, chairman of the Campbell County Democratic Party. "Shame on you Mr. Hayden."

Hayden accused Keene of misrepresenting himself during his May Democratic primary victory over Campbell County Commissioner Ken Rechtin.

Keene's campaign material carried the phrase "hardest-working full-time legislator."

Hayden pointed out that Keene, a Wilder councilman who operates a manufactured-housing company and invests in real estate, has never been a legislator.

"He misrepresented himself to the voters," said Hayden, who ran unopposed in the GOP primary. "He ran a dishonest campaign during the primary, and now he has begun to attack me by spreading lies."


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