New TV ad pins Colorado’s lost wind industry jobs on Romney

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DENVER – A new television ad is hitting Colorado’s airwaves this week highlighting Mitt Romney’s opposition to extending a wind energy Production Tax Credit that supports thousands of jobs in the state, FOX31 Denver is first to report.

The $500,000 ad buy from the League of Conservation Voters is timed to appeal to Colorado voters during a week where both campaigns and the national media are descending on Denver, where the first of three presidential debates will take place Wednesday night.

The ad itself features Chris Maese, who lost his job at the Vestas wind turbine plant in Pueblo earlier this summer when the company laid off 90 employees, about 20 percent of its workforce, because of uncertainty in the wind energy market as Congress appears unwilling to extend a tax credit for the industry that is set to expire at year’s end.

“Until a few weeks ago, I had a job building wind turbines,” Maese says in the ad. “I got laid off because Mitt Romney and his friends in Congress want to eliminate tax credits for the wind industry.”

The ad cites a FOX31 report from Aug. 21, one of several that focused on the impact of Congress’s failure to renew the Production Tax Credit, which supports 37,000 jobs in the industry across several states and as many as 5,000 in Colorado alone.

It also refers to a Politico report detailing how Romney’s opposition may have derailed the extension of the wind PTC by Congress in August as part of a bipartisan budget agreement.

Eight of Colorado’s nine members of Congress, including three of four Republicans, support extending the wind PTC; but Romney came out against it in late July, arguing that the government shouldn’t be subsidizing any industry — “picking winners and losers”, as he and surrogates often put it.

“I think Mitt Romney is not in touch with the little guy,” Maese continues. “Mitt Romney has always been a supporter of big oil; he has friends who are in the big oil industry. That might be great for Mitt Romney and big oil, but try telling that to my kids.”

Currently, the five biggest oil companies in the United States receive a combined $4 billion annually in tax breaks and subsidies, something Romney has defended, as did his running-mate Paul Ryan in an interview with FOX31 Denver, as did South Dakota Sen. John Thune in a separate interview with FOX31 Denver, as did Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to FOX31 Denver — all while arguing against the government “picking winners and losers.”

“Hard working middle class Coloradans like Chris Maese could still have their wind energy jobs if Mitt Romney had endorsed extending the bipartisan supported wind tax credit,” said Pete Maysmith, the executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters.

“Instead Romney proposes a 19th century energy plan which caters to his corporate lobbyist supporters and big oil donors that will do little to lead Colorado — and this nation  — towards a clean energy future.”

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