When Patricia Scalabrini went to hear Donald Trump speak in her home state of Iowa, she never dreamed she would actually get to ask him a question. However, she ended up making national news by asking the presidential candidate about wind energy.
Patricia’s husband works at TPI Composites, a wind turbine manufacturer in Newton, IA that employs about 800 people in the area. Overall, wind supports up to 7,000 jobs in the state, and there are 12 factories like TPI’s in Iowa that build wind-related parts and materials.
“TPI helped my family recover from layoffs during the recession. We were able to recover financially, and buy a home in Newton. We owe a lot to TPI for that,” said Patricia.
With a longstanding interest in politics and campaigns, one of the first things Patricia did when show moved to Iowa was join the Republican Committee. But she noticed, “During the last election it seemed like more of the Democrat candidates were for wind energy than Republicans and that bothered me, because I’m a strong Republican.”
When Patricia attended a town hall where Trump was speaking, she knew it was a good opportunity to ask him if he supported policies that are good for the U.S. wind industry. “I was hoping he’d have a more positive outlook on wind energy,” she said.
Today, a few hundred thousand Iowa residents will meet in caucus to kick-off the presidential nomination process. As the spotlight moves away from Iowa to other early primary states, let’s follow Patricia’s lead and ask the candidates whether they support this homegrown energy source, and the jobs and resources it brings to our communities. Their stances could determine whether more families like Patricia’s get a second chance at following the American dream, or have opportunities closed off due to lack of support.
“I’d hope that other people would be very interested in how these candidates address wind energy – that they’re in favor of it – that they keep it growing,” Patricia said. “It’s a very important factor in our community… there’s many jobs that are depending on the future of the wind industry.”