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Report: Ex-Trek Bicycle exec Mary Burke under fire for outsourcing history

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Trek Bicycle company keeps pedaling its way into the Wisconsin governor's race, to the apparent disadvantage of its former executive Mary Burke as she tries to defeat Governor Scott Walker. 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice wrote Tuesday morning that Burke is under at least some criticism within her own Democratic party, after a Labor Department ruling last week which said up to 20 former Trek employees are eligible for federal aid.

That's because they lost their jobs when Trek relied more on bikes produced in China.

Trek spokeswoman Marina Marich said the company believes the government is wrong, but the firm won't challenge the ruling. 

Bice says some labor officials and liberal activists have yet to get behind Burke. She still owns a share of her family-owned company in Waterloo, and she's been touting the nearly 1,000 jobs that her firm created in Wisconsin.  

Her campaign downplayed Trek's outsourcing, and highlighted Burke's previously-stated support for U.S. trade policies that support American manufacturers. 

Burke is now facing some of the same criticism that Democrats have heaped on Republicans who became embroiled in the outsourcing debate in recent years. 

The State GOP did not comment on the ruling against Trek Bicycle.

Bice quoted a recent Facebook debate in which state Democratic Party official Jeff Christensen defended Trek. He blamed current trade policies for Trek's outsourcing, and Trek is the only known bicycle firm that has any U.S. production.