Rep. Rick Crawford: In coronavirus battle, public-private partnerships will bring us victory

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President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency Friday to address the coronavirus pandemic, leaves me comforted by the demonstrated strength and resolve of our great nation. In times of trouble, Americans have historically shown great resilience. The United States of America is at its best when we are united in purpose.

“We are announcing a new partnership with the private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus,” the president said at a news conference. “We want people to take a test quickly if they need. But we don’t want people to take the test if we feel they shouldn’t be doing it.”

The president’s emphasis on public-private partnerships is a proven method of success. There are numerous examples that embody the fighting spirit of America, but one that immediately comes to mind is World War II.

When our nation mobilized for the war, industry at home mobilized to aid in the effort. Factories shifted production of whatever it was they were manufacturing at the time, to engage in the manufacture of products that would help our warfighters abroad.

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In more recent times, breweries have halted production of beer, shifting to bottling – or canning – of drinking water to aid victims of natural disasters here at home. Whatever the adversity or adversary, Americans have shown remarkable resolve in the face of a crisis.

Crises have historically summoned the best qualities of the American character. When times are hard, we rise to meet any challenge. Where others see obstacles and impediments, we see opportunities. When some ask why we ask: why not?

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The crisis we face today should be no different. America is blessed with a vibrant and thriving economy populated with brilliant innovators and skilled workers, more than capable of meeting any challenge our nation faces.

As we grapple with the specific threats posed by the coronavirus today, Americans should view this as an opportunity to unite in word and deed. By utilizing the technology in our marketplace, a skilled workforce and the abundance of production of commodities here at home, we are uniquely positioned to meet the needs of our nation on our own terms.

For too long, we have relied on outside sources for production of items critical to our own security, safety, and health. By ramping up domestic production of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment essential to the health of our citizens, we not only engage in the protection of those citizens, but we also enrich them with economic opportunities associated with the production of items vital to our national interest.

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These opportunities exist throughout the supply chain. American corn growers, for example, would benefit from the increased use of corn as the primary ingredient for hand sanitizer.

Similarly, cotton growers could benefit by directing U.S.-grown cotton to the production of masks and personal protective equipment crucial to our medical professionals on the front lines of a pandemic battlefield.

Our nation will prevail as we always have. We will come out on the other side of this present challenge better and stronger – and wiser. Wise enough that we should never again lapse into the complacency that would position us to rely on anyone else but ourselves.