President Barack Obama plans a return trip to the Capital Region on Tuesday, with a visit to Schenectady that is likely to include a tour of the Schenectady/Rotterdam General Electric campus or the company’s Niskayuna research facility, to promote investments in high-tech industry.
“We look forward to welcoming the president,” said U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam. “For the region to have two visits in a short period of time is a flattering statement.” Obama visited Hudson Valley Community College in September 2009 to promote a stimulus plan.
Tonko said the Capital Region is being highlighted as an area for future investment and as an example of great progress in innovation. He said GE has been pivotal in this and a source of great inspiration. The president’s agenda had not been made public late Thursday.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, said a visit from the president to the community is a good thing, regardless of party affiliation, especially if it is a chance to highlight Schenectady’s work force.
While visiting ...
While in town, the president may want to play basketball or visit Proctors. Click HERE.
With the president’s trip likely to revolve around high-tech jobs and green initiatives, he will probably broach areas that were addressed in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address on Wednesday, which included tax credits to spur economic growth and the implementation of the “N.Y. Cleaner, Greener Communities Program.” The latter will include $100 million in grants to encourage sustainable growth strategies.
Schenectady Mayor Brian U. Stratton said he didn’t know what Obama would actually be talking about, but said that this area is a good place to advance an “energy agenda.”
“He’s coming to the right place in the world: the birthplace of technology,” said Stratton. “There’s ample reasons that he should know what Schenectady is doing that could be done in other states.”
On green energy, Tedisco said that could be the kind of project that might help revitalize GE’s presence in Schenectady. “Energy is our first name,” he said.
Tonko said, “We’re the birthplace of an energy revolution.”
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., said she was proud to welcome Obama back to the Capital Region and that she wanted to discuss the next step in cultivating the potential economic growth here.
“When the president arrives next week,” she said, “he will meet strong families, workers, businesses and community leaders who all stand ready to help lead America’s economic recovery.”
GE has its $100 million sodium-storage battery plant on the Energy Campus off Erie Boulevard and there are developments in thin film solar technology at the Global Research facility in Niskayuna, which were on display during the company’s 110th anniversary celebration in September. GE is also developing a wind turbine service center on the Schenectady campus.
In September of 2009 Obama appeared at HVCC to rally support for his plan to develop new jobs and unleash America’s innovative potential. In that instance he was committing federal money toward education, infrastructure and research, which he called the building blocks of innovation.
His initiative in 2009 included an increase in the amount of federal Pell grants and a reformatted application process for students seeking federal aid.
That visit was the first to the area by a president since Bill Clinton came to Albany in 2000 to stump for his wife’s Senate campaign. A sitting president hasn’t had a substantive visit to Schenectady since President Theodore Roosevelt spoke to an assemblage in the downtown area in 1904, though Stratton recalled that Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Harry Truman made “whistle-stop” visits.