Montana Senator Steve Daines is taking credit for convincing President Trump to keep the Anaconda Job Corps Center open. Daines stated in a media conference call last week that he phoned Trump to discuss the site’s significance to the Montana economy and its top ranking within the Civilian Conservation Corps.
“The president… overruled the decision made by Secretary (Alex) Acosta,” Daines is quoted by Martin Kidston in the Missoula Current. “This is about jobs. The decision would have been devastating, and I’m glad the president listened to the argument I made to him and decided to keep the site open.”
Last month, the Labor Department announced it was closing nine CCC locations across the country including the Anaconda Job Corps Center and privatizing the others. The Department of Agriculture said the U.S. Forest Service would no longer oversee the sites due to budget.
In a letter sent on May 24 to Acosta, Daines urged him to keep the Anaconda CCC open, calling it a valuable source of skilled labor and training in certain industries. He also expressed concern over the Labor Department’s plan to transition other CCCs, including Trapper Creek in Darby, to new contract operators.
Daines said Monday the fate of the Darby site remains uncertain.
“That was never on the closure list, but I know there’s some administrative transfers going on from Agriculture to DOL,” Daines is quoted saying. “My focus was on Anaconda. That would have had an impact of roughly 250 lost jobs, along with the role they play in wildland firefighting and the role they play with our trade unions and apprentice programs.”
Sen. Jon Tester also had expressed frustration over the DOL’s plans to close the Anaconda site. Last week, he urged members of Montana’s Republican delegation to get more involved, saying, “Hopefully, they’ll call the president, grab his ear and talk to him.”
“I think this decision is reckless, I think it is clueless,” Tester said last week. Tester still plans on introducing legislation keeping the CCCs open and intact as government-run training centers.