Determined to show his administration is focused on easing creation of the jobs of the future, President Barack Obama will travel to the Bay Area next week, with his itinerary including a visit to a solar-panel manufacturing plant in Fremont.
The president on Wednesday will visit Solyndra Inc., which is using a $535 million federal loan guarantee it received through last year's economic-stimulus legislation to build a new plant just down Kato Road from its existing one.
Obama will tour the existing facility, then speak with Solyndra employees about jobs and the economy, according to the White House. The event won't be open to the public.
The president will make the visit the morning after headlining a pair of Tuesday night fundraisers in San Francisco for U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer's re-election campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, issued a statement Friday welcoming the president to his district.
"I think he's trying to focus the public's attention on the jobs issue and get away from the health care fights and some of the other stuff," Stark had said Friday morning, noting he'll be unable to accompany the president because he'll be stuck in Washington, D.C., as Congress grapples with a jobs bill and health care issues.
Solyndra makes thin-film, tube-shaped solar modules that maximize energy output while minimizing installation costs. The new plant, which will be twice as large as the existing one, is projected to create 3,000 temporary construction jobs and an estimated 1,000 long-term production jobs.
Along with Thursday's news that Tesla Motors and Toyota are partnering to build all-electric cars at Fremont's recently shuttered New United Motor Manufacturing Inc., or NUMMI, plant, the city is gaining a reputation of being green-jobs magnet.
Stark said he and his constituents in the 13th Congressional District hope to hear more from the president about extending unemployment insurance and COBRA health care coverage benefits, reforming welfare's child care and other provisions, and about creating immediate jobs through public works projects.
"With all due respect to Tesla and green jobs, I'd like to hear him (Obama) say what he's going to bring to us in the way of jobs right now ... what I call shovel-ready projects. We've got a lot of potholes to fill."
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