Ross Perot got it right back in 1992. In a debate, Perot said, “If we continue to pass these one-sided trade agreements there will be a giant sucking sound.” Our elected officials in Washington, D.C., meanwhile, have been ignoring his advice. As a result, we’ve been listening to that “giant sucking sound” throughout the United States for more than 22 years.

Perot’s warning came to mind nearly every day in my first term representing Clinton, Detroit and Pittsfield. That giant sucking sound would be there whenever I heard fellow lawmakers talking about plant closings and job losses in their districts, whenever we discussed cutting social programs, whenever we debated revenue sharing.

Now, as I begin my second term in the House of Representatives, I also hear that giant sucking sound at home, and it is very loud. It’s coming from the UTC plant on Main Street in my hometown of Pittsfield. UTC decided to send nearly 400 jobs — jobs that belong to the hardworking dedicated men and women employed at the plant — to Mexico and China.

These poorly negotiated trade agreements are hurting our country, our state and our middle class. This must end.

Reversing the offshoring of jobs must be a priority for our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. It will take a coordinated effort by state legislatures, governors and — most importantly — the powerful force that comes from the involvement of the American people.

The time is now for all of us to come together to ensure that all trade agreements, current and future, strengthen our economy, raise our standard of living and create American jobs. We can and we must bring back our jobs and at the same time bring back to light the phrase, “Made in America.”

Rep. Stanley Short Jr.