If you spend enough time in Washington, you start to look at everything with your political glasses on. I couldn’t help but notice that Colorado and Indiana stood to make big gains when a recent grant program was announced by the Department of Energy.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Tuesday that a $400 million federal loan will allow Abound Solar to move forward with solar panel production operations in Tipton, Ind., and Longmont, Colo. The Tipton plant will create about 1,000 jobs according to reports, which is about 150 more than originally expected. The loan is also supposed to create more than 200 jobs at the Longmont location.
So let’s put those political glasses on and take a look at these grants. Longmont sits in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. President Obama carried the district in 2008, and so did U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey. Flash-forward two years and Markey is counting her last days as a representative, as Republican Corey Gardner will take over as the new representative from the district. (And let’s not forget that Colorado was critical to Obama in 2008. It will likely be more critical in 2012.)
Indiana is another story. While it was perhaps one of the most surprising of the swing states that broke Democratic in 2008, the Indiana 5th Congressional District wasn’t the reason. Obama’s success was his locking down of northwest Indiana. Tipton County and most of the Indiana 5th were heavy McCain supporters in 2008. But 1,000 jobs is 1,000 jobs. If that resonates with voters a few counties away, Obama may have a few more talking points on that same campaign trail in 2012.
Still, this one is a bit more of a stretch compared to Colorado, when it comes to drawing political conclusions. But I am certainly not the first person in the Beltway to make such a stretch.