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SUPERIOR - At his first stop in a city tour Friday, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson said his policies in the U.S. Senate could help companies like Kestrel Aircraft.
Thompson toured the company's new Superior office to get an understanding of how the company is growing.
"The idea of building a brand new airplane in Superior that will be sold across the state, across this country, and internationally is very exciting," Thompson said.
Thompson is making a bid to become the GOP nominee in the election for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat.
On Friday, he talked to a handful of employees, which are expected to grow by the hundreds in the next couple years.
"We're pleased to have Governor Thompson here today," Kestrel Aircraft CEO Alan Klapmeier said.
Klapmeier talked with the potential-senator about the process to start construction on their Superior buildings.
"It's putting together a puzzle," Klapmeier said. "Lots of different pieces and some are sequential; you can't start doing the building until some of the financing is put into place."
Klapmeier said the company should be breaking ground on the first of three facilities with a factory on Winter Street this summer.
But, he told Thompson things could be moving faster if things on the federal level did not take so long.
"What we're trying to do is get things done more quickly," Klapmeier said. "To recognize that there's always someone waiting for the result."
"There's so many things that Washington has done to strangle the economy, especially small upstart businesses like Kestrel," Thompson said. "I want to change that."
Paperwork and regulations aside, Klapmeier said the company is close to takeoff, and that a final product design and construction is on the horizon.
Thompson also made stops at Exodus and Calumet Friday.
After the visits, Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen publicly endorsed Thompson in his bid for U.S. Senate.