The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

April 22, 2010

Candidate blasts bureau for buying foreign-made apparel

JOHNSTOWN — With U.S. Census workers peering down from second-floor windows, Democratic congressional candidate Mark Critz on Thursday scolded the bureau for spending millions on foreign-made apparel.

“It’s appalling,” Critz said from the sidewalk outside the Census Bureau’s downtown Johnstown headquarters beside the post office.

“We’re in a position where unemployment is going up. People are in pain. Children are in pain,” he told a handful of supporters, along with media and aides. He held up articles of clothing so their “Made in” labels could be seen.

“With (John) Murtha, it was ‘Buy American,’ ” said Critz, who was an aide to the late congressman.

“We have to support one another.”

He also said the U.S. needs to close loopholes that give tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas.

Pam Golden, a Census Bureau spokeswoman in Pittsburgh, acknowledged that the government spent $6.4 million on Census 2010 hats made in China and shirts from El Salvador.

But she said there were extenuating circumstances: The purchases were made on short notice to meet the bureau’s “March to the Mailbox” promotional campaign last month.

Further, Golden said, the apparel was bought through small businesses in the United States and according to federal procurement rules. “We basically bought existing products,” she said.

She said the embroidery and printing were done in the U.S.

Critz decried the purchases, saying, “We used to have hat and shirt factories all over this district.”

But he denied he was egging on a trade war.

“We have to work with these countries,” Critz said.

“It’s not a matter of drawing a line in the sand. It’s a conversation that needs to take place.”

In the regular course of their duties, Golden said, census workers only receive an official bag.

She couldn’t immediately say in what countries those bags were made.

Golden wouldn’t say whether the bureau should have done things differently in buying the promotional items.

Higher-ups in the agency did not immediately reply to this question.

She did say that the

$6.4 million outlay was only a tiny fraction of the bureau’s $400 million communications budget.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads