In the latest installment of our recurring “Main Street America” series, correspondent John Larson travels to Pueblo, Colorado to assess the mood along Main Street in a once-thriving steel town that now depends on the global economy to make ends meet.
Colorado is a key swing state in the presidential election with polls showing president Obama and Former Governor Mitt Romney neck and neck. Pueblo’s Main Street is also at the center of the renewable energy debate that the two candidates sparred over during the first debate this week. Vestas, a Danish company, set up the largest wind mill tower factory in the world in Pueblo. Romney has stated that if he wins the presidency, he plans to get rid of a wind energy tax credit put in place by Obama. That threat has frozen the wind industry in its tracks and forced the industry to layoff thousands across the country, including in Pueblo. The layoffs have compounded an unemployment rate of 11%, already the highest in Colorado.
Almost everyone we talked to felt that politicians in Washington were out of touch with the realities on their Main Street and didn’t have the ability to solve the country’s most pressing problems. And yet there is an unmistakable air resilience in Pueblo; the city has weathered the steel crash of the 1980’s and will outlast the current economic storm too.
Additional funding for this week’s show was provided by the Schumann Media Center.