Bain Capital cuts jobs in rural America

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My friend came in the office all excited. "I got him to admit it. Bain Capital owns Air Evac," she said. She had stopped in the mall where Air Evac, a helicopter ambulance service, had been trying to sign up customers. The manager was there with a crew. She said, "Can I ask a question?"

"Go right ahead," he said.

"Does Mitt Romney own Air Evac?' she wanted to know.

"Oh, no," he said, "that's not true."

"Well, I understand Bain Capital bought it. That's Mitt Romney's company, isn't it?" His crew backed up against the wall, not wanting to be part of the fray, she said.

"Yes, but that doesn't mean anything" was the lame reply.

Air Evac started 27 years ago in a small town in the Ozarks to give ambulance services to rural people. It grew to cover 14 states and combined with two other ambulance services to form Medical Group Services, which was bought by Bain Capital two years ago. My friend knew about it because she heard the story in that great news distribution area, the beauty parlor. "My niece works there, but they were told not to talk about Bain Capital," she had heard.

In June, an announcement was in the local paper that Air Evac was moving its headquarters to a town near St. Louis. One hundred fifty jobs would be lost.

Air Evac is the second biggest employer in the county here. This is a great blow to a rural area where unemployment reaches close to 10 percent, and food banks constantly plead for donations because of more people coming to them for supplies.

Romney, even though he's not running Bain Capital, owns an undisclosed stake in it and makes millions from its deals. Air Evac spokesman said they were moving the headquarters because the so-called high-quality people they want to hire do not want to live in a rural community.

Photo: (Coolstock/CC)

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