Kokomo Preps For Presidential Spotlight
Obama, Biden To Visit Tuesday
Last Updated: 917 days ago
Kokomo will be in the national spotlight Tuesday when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden visit to tout the city as a success story of the Recovery Act.They're scheduled to fly into Grissom Air Reserve Base on Tuesday morning and will visit the Chrysler Groups Indiana Transmission Plant II where they will take a tour, greet plant workers and give brief remarks."I think it's great that they're coming to recognize what were doing here, said Blake Kinder, a local business owner.A White House release said the Recovery Act and the administration's auto restructuring plan have helped in Kokomo's economic recovery.A new plant that makes components for hybrid cars recently opened with money from the stimulus bill. Chrysler also has invested $300 million to retool and modernize a transmission plant in the city.Michael Harris, chancellor of Indiana University-Kokomo, said the university saw record enrollment this year, what he called a key sign of economic recovery."We have passed the 3,000 mark this year. The fact that people are back at work allows their family members, their kids to go ahead and obtain and education, he said. Some of the people who were called back or recalled (in the factories) are here taking classes with us and retooling with us.Howard County's unemployment rate has dropped from more than 20 percent to around 12 percent, but that's still about 2 percent above the state average."It's not quite where it used to be, but it is better than it was a year ago, that's for sure, Kinder said of the city.The businessman, who is set to open Cook McDoogal's Irish Pub downtown Tuesday, said he credits the stimulus money for helping to fund the venture, and said he would be honored to have some presidential recognition."I would love to serve them lunch on our grand opening in a new business downtown, that's trying to revitalize and on our opening day with the stimulus money helping us open, he said.Obama last visited Kokomo in April 2008.