August 30, 2014

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Obama Heartland Tour comes to Paulding County


By JIM LANGHAM • Feature Writer

SCOTT – It was no ordinary day at Marv Thompson’s barn in rural Paulding County on Tuesday; cars lined the driveway, cameras were set for video taping and a blue bus identified as President Obama’s Heartland Tour rolled in for one of several media sessions in northwest Ohio.

The purpose of the tour, said Aaron Pickrell, senior advisor to the Obama campaign in Ohio, was to give awareness to Obama’s efforts in rural communities of the Midwest, especially those pertaining to non-fossil fuel energy.

“One of the main ways the President is helping boost northwest Ohio’s economy is through homegrown, American energy,” said Pickrell. “Ohio’s wind energy has increased by 1,200 percent since 2009.”

Thompson said that he was happy to host the tour stop.

“When I was asked to host this, I didn’t hesitate,” said Thompson. “I’m glad to help anything I can on the campaign.

“It’s very important to keep crop insurance alive and well,” continued Thompson. “It’s the only safety net we have during a year like this.”

Jason Szymanski, an employee with the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers, said that turbines in Paulding County are some of the high spots of wind energy in the state.

“The turbines at the Timber Road II Wind Farm in Paulding County are able to power more than 27,000 households of Ohio homes annually,” noted Szymanski. “Across the state of Ohio, this very important sector boasts 6,000 jobs.”

Jim Zumbrink, a farmer visiting from Darke County, said that it is imperative that rural agriculturalists explore alternative forms of fuel over the next few years.

“We have to look for a different form of energy, an energy for the future,” observed Zumbrink. “We’ve used a lot of fossil fuel over the last one hundred years. We know that this isn’t going to last forever.”

“President Obama is for a strong farm safety net,” commented former Ohio State Senator Gene Branstool. “That’s why he increased the availability of crop insurance and emergency disaster assistance to help 575,000 farmers and ranchers keep their farms in business after natural disasters and crop loss.

“The President is fully aware that there is more work to do, but we must continue moving forward towards a future where hard work pays and everyone does their fair share,” continued Branstool.

One prominent individual soaking in Tuesday’s event was Roger Wise, of Sandusky, president of the Ohio Farmer’s Union.

Wise said that his organization fully supports wind energy and noted that growing installation of turbines has been a real benefit to agricultural experts and farmers in rural Ohio.

“It’s important to have a rural energy solution where we can have renewable energy and diminish the need of oil,” said Wise. “I’m a huge support of ethanol.”