No sitting president has come to Newton since Harry Truman. Thursday, President Barack Obama makes his second trip in 3 years. The town's new wind energy industry highlights both visits. In 2009, the president spoke to employees at Trinity Structural Towers, which makes wind turbines. Thursday, the White House said the president will talk with workers at TPI Composites, which makes wind blades.
Mayor Charles "Chaz" Allen has overseen the wind energy movement to try to rebuild his town decimated after Maytag/Whirlpool left town. But the wind energy industry can be volatile, too, as companies and investors wait to see if congress will extend clean energy tax credits set to expire at the end of the year.
Allen said, "It's a non-partisan issue. All of our representatives and senator in Washington, D.C., want to pass the production tax credit to keep wind energy flowing in the future. And it's important to Newton because we've created about 1,000 jobs for wind energy."
Allen said the energy and his town need certainty in what is ahead. He said, "We just need more long-term policies to get us through this. There's so much 6 months here, 2 months. Is it going to be 5 years? Two years? We need a long-term policy so we know what to do going forward."