‘Cheers’ Actor Talks Shop at Delegates Breakfast

Actor John Ratzenberger speaks to the Massachusetts delegation on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Beachwood, Ohio.
Written by Andrea Asuaje

By Andrea Asuaje
BU News Service

John Ratzenberger may be most famous for being Cliff Clavin in the comedy classic “Cheers,” but before he was Cliff, he was a carpenter.

Ratzenberger was the star of Tuesday morning’s Massachusetts delegation breakfast in Beachwood, where he spoke on the day’s theme: Make America Work Again. He focused on the importance of trade workers and how it is the backbone of the nation.

“Manufacturing is to America what spinach is to Popeye,” he said.

Ratzenberger, who may be better known to a younger generation as the voice of Hamm the Piggy Bank in the “Toy Story” franchise among his other Pixar credits, said without blue-collar workers — a term he said he rejects and instead uses “essential workers” — America would grind to a halt.

He also spoke at length about how to get a new generation of trade workers in the country, including praising students interested in vocational training and continuing to push school boards to adopt shop classes and home economics courses.

Delegate Lou Murray, of Quincy, said Ratzenberger’s speech was “terrific” and humanized a character he had seen on TV.

Murray said hearing Ratzenberger talk about his mother and father, who worked manufacturing jobs in Connecticut, showed how Donald Trump’s message applies to New England and the current workings of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.

“They want to bring manufacturing back to Massachusetts,” Murray said. “They’re working on these issues.”

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