President focuses on wind energy, creating jobs in Fort Madison - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

President focuses on wind energy, creating jobs in Fort Madison

FORT MADISON, Ia. (WGEM) -- The stop at the Siemens wind turbine blade plant was the first official stop on the "White House to Main Street" tour.

Blades still surround the parking lot at Siemens, just one of the security measures taken here today to block any line of sight here at the plant where the President spoke just hours ago.

President Barack Obama says investments in clean energy technologies can help return jobs to the country's heartland and ensure that America doesn't fall behind other nations.

Mr. Obama made the comments at a wind energy plant in Iowa that employs more than 600 workers with help from tax credits in last year's economic stimulus law.

It was the President's first stop on a two-day Midwestern trip aimed at convincing voters his economic policies are working despite continued high unemployment.

Obama said wind power could generate as much as 20-percent of the country's electricity two decades from now. And he predicted passage of sweeping energy legislation that's in limbo in the Senate, saying the country's security and economy and even "the future of our planet" depend on it.

President Obama's trip to Southeast Iowa started at the Keokuk Airport, where Marine One landed. From there, the President traveled to the Siemens plant in Fort Madison.

His stop at the plant began with a brief tour where the President got a first hand look at the wind turbine blade production process.

When the tour was complete he addressed a crowd of about 300 plant employees, local officials and guests.

"It's good to be back in Iowa, good to be in Fort Madison," said President Obama.

The President's speech focused on advances in green technology like wind energy, making the U.S. less dependent of foreign oil, and putting Americans back to work.

"Just a few short years ago this facility was dark, it was quiet, nothing was going on and today it's alive and humming with more than 600 employees," said the President.

And 65-percent of Siemens employees used to work at other companies that have since downsized or closed completely.

While they would normally be working, the Siemens employees in the crowd welcomed the break and the once in a lifetime opportunity to see the President of the United States.

"I saw him walking up, I told him I didn't want a handshake, I wanted a hug ang got one. It's a once in a lifetime thing, it happened, it's exciting," says Peggy Jenkins, an employee at Siemens.

President Obama's appearance at Siemens was closed to the public, but some special invitations were extended to community members, like Donna Amandus who campaigned heavily for President Obama before the 2008 election.

Her son Jack was also able to attend, and got to meet the President.

"He just kind of made his way to us and when he saw Jack he was like 'let me have him', it was so cute it was great," says Donna Amandus.

"He was good," says Jack Amandus.

The President's stop at Siemens lasted less than an hour but for many here the memories will likely last a lifetime.

Because of today's visit, workers at the Siemens plant were actually given the day off.

The President is scheduled to appear in Macon and Quincy Wednesday so things should be getting back to normal in Southeast Iowa and at the Siemens plant.

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