(AP) JANESVILLE, Wis. – A defining moment for Paul Ryan’s hometown came at the height of the Great Recession: General Motors, after nearly a century of making Chevrolets on the banks of the Rock River, shut down its oldest assembly plant and erased 6,000 jobs.
A defining question of the campaign Ryan joined this week as the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee just might be what comes next for places like Janesville.
In the election battleground states of middle America, this is one of the many not-quite-small-towns but hardly-big-cities struggling to find their future. They were among the last places where high school educations led to solid blue-collar jobs. They are home to once-thriving small businesses now staggering from big employers shutting down.