U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Thursday takes the Biden administration’s jobs agenda to a right-wing Georgia congressional district represented by Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump.
Harris, a Democrat, is headed to the small northwestern Georgia town of Dalton to talk about the growing solar manufacturing business as part of a nationwide tour by President Joe Biden and his top aides to promote his economic agenda in 20 states over three weeks.
In Dalton, South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions Corp’s (009830.KS) Hanwha Q Cells unit has been expanding a solar manufacturing operation first built during the Trump administration, spending billions and adding hundreds of jobs in response to tax credits included in Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and trade policies that disadvantage imports from China.
Harris is announcing a further expansion, including an order for 2.5 million new solar panels involving Summit Ridge Energy, according to administration officials.
Biden often describes his economic agenda as reversing the trend of globalization that he and other Democrats once celebrated, importing jobs and exporting products rather than the other way around. He also wants a carbon-free electric grid by 2035, with a sizeable chunk powered by solar panels.
Dalton is less than a two hour drive outside of Democrat-friendly Atlanta, which tipped Georgia to Democrats for the first time in nearly three decades in 2020. But Dalton is the seat of a county where Trump won 2.4 votes for every one for Biden.
Greene, the district’s representative in the U.S. House, was among those who joined hundreds in New York to protest outside the courthouse where Trump was formally charged on allegations by prosecutors that he orchestrated hush-money payments to two women before the 2016 U.S. election to suppress publication of their sexual encounters with him.
Greene heckled Biden and called him a liar multiple times during his February State of the Union speech before Congress. Biden raises her name often now in political speeches and, in February, made the sign of the cross when he did so.
“The Biden-Harris administration’s economic agenda and legislative wins – including the Inflation Reduction Act – is fostering innovation, investment and job creation in communities like Dalton and across America,” said Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen. “Instead, congressional Republicans want to roll back this progress and put investments in manufacturing, clean energy and good jobs at risk.”
Greene was notified that the event was taking place but is not expected to participate, according to a White House official. A spokesperson for Greene did not respond to requests for comment.
Dalton is the self-styled “carpet capital of the United States” for its longtime manufacturing specialty. But the town is also a picture of Georgia’s changing demographics and economy, having drawn a large Latino and immigrant population in recent decades to work in its factories. With the solar factory, the town is increasingly focused on advanced manufacturing, too.
Georgia is expected to again be one of the most contested states in the 2024 presidential election that may pit Biden against Trump once again. A rising share of immigrants and more highly educated white-collar workers have helped Democrats get a foothold in a state whose working class white voters favor Republicans.