President Begins U.S. Recovery Tour
Ohio first-stop on 6-week look at economic stimulus
To mark the launch of the 10,000th Recovery Act project, President Barack Obama traveled to Columbus, Ohio recently. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act supplies money to fund projects designed to provide jobs and strengthen the country's economy.
"I think it's fitting that we've reached this milestone here in this community," President Obama said during his 13-minute speech on Friday. "What you're doing here is a perfect example of the kind of innovation and coordination and renewal that the Recovery Act is driving all across this country."
The Ohio stop is one of many planned over the next six weeks by the Obama Administration in what is being called "Recovery Summer." The trips are designed to highlight how federal stimulus dollars are creating jobs and helping the economy.
The President spoke to a small crowd of construction workers and media gathered behind Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus. The site is where construction has already begun on a large expansion to the hospital. Funds are also being provided for roads and new sidewalks in the area.
"Together, you're creating more than 2,300 new jobs and sending a powerful message that this neighborhood will soon be a place where more families can thrive and more businesses can prosper," President Obama said. "[The] economic development that's being sparked today is going to continue into the future."
The president explained many achievements in Ohio's economy that have resulted from the Recovery Act:
• 2,400 small business owners have received loans to keep their doors open and employees on payroll
• 4.5 million families have received tax cuts to help put food on their tables
• More than 450 transportation projects are under way or have been completed
"And today, more than 100,000 Ohioans are at work today as result of these steps," President Obama said. "Since I was here [in Columbus] last year we've begun to see progress all across the country. Businesses are beginning to hire again, our economy…is now growing…and we've added jobs for six out of the past seven months in this country."
Marva Nesbitt, who works for the Ohio Department of Insurance, liked the speech and thinks Obama's plan for the economy is working.
"I feel the stimulus money is being used well in the state of Ohio," she said. "This project will put a lot of construction workers back to work." Nesbitt also said his speech provided hope for turning the economy around.
Monica Rose, also an employee of the Ohio Department of Insurance, agreed.
"We might not see it right away, but I do believe in the long run it will help [the economy] a lot," she said. "I'm looking forward to seeing the improvements that it will make."
President Obama conceded that the current projects are not enough to get the country where it needs to be economically. More jobs need to be created and more growth needs to occur.
"I know that a lot of families and communities have yet to feel the effects of the recovery in their own lives," he said. "There are still too many people here in Ohio and across the country who can't find work. Many more can't make ends meet."
The ultimate purpose of the Recovery Act, he continued, is not just to jumpstart the economy, but to make long-term investments that will spur the future.
"The truth is, if we want to keep on adding jobs, if we want to keep on raising incomes, if we want to keep growing both our economy and our middle class, if we want to ensure that Americans can compete with any nation in the world, we're going to have to get serious about our long-term vision for this country," President Obama said.
The next stop on the "Recovery Summer" is Midland, Michigan, where Vice President Joe Biden is attending the groundbreaking for a new Dow Kokam advanced battery manufacturing facility on Monday, June 21.
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