Knoxville, Clinton prepare for presidential visit

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Knoxville and Clinton are preparing for President Obama’s arrival to East Tennessee Friday.

President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will visit Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville to discuss education and they will visit a manufacturing company in Clinton to discuss jobs.

“It’s just a thrill to be able to see a president,” owner of Antique Market in Clinton Angela Galen said.

Related coverage: Presidential Visit

Galen has owned her store for 13 years and said she has seen the city grow economically over the last decade. She said she believes the president’s visit will highlight the city’s achievements.

Clinton Mayor Scott Burton
Clinton Mayor Scott Burton

“I think this says a lot for Clinton,” Galen said. “We’ve been growing. I own a small business and we’ve seen an increase in the number of people that have come through the area.”

The president will visit Techmer PM, a manufacturing plastics and fiber company that employs around 220 people at the Clinton location, according to a spokesperson.

The president will visit Techmer PM, a manufacturing plastics and fiber company that employs around 220 people at the Clinton location, according to a spokesperson.
The president will visit Techmer PM, a manufacturing plastics and fiber company that employs around 220 people at the Clinton location, according to a spokesperson.

The national publication Business Facilities ranked Tennessee number one in the country for economic development and Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said Clinton is among the top five cities in the state for economic growth.

“We draw people from Scott County from Campbell County from up in Kentucky of course Knox County so we draw a lot of people in to work in our industries,” Burton said.

Burton said President Obama’s visit to the small city of roughly 10,000 people is a great honor.

“I don’t think in the history of Clinton has a president of the United States come to our town,” Burton said.

Staff and students at PSCC are also preparing for the presidential visit.
Staff and students at PSCC are also preparing for the presidential visit.

“I think no matter what your politics are it’s always exciting to have the president come to your area,” Galen said.

Staff and students at PSCC are also preparing for the presidential visit.

“I think it’s kind of cool that someone in charge of everything is actually coming here,” PSCC student Blake Melancon said.

“I know Pellissippi has done a lot with the community,” PSCC student Gabriel Ware said. “I can definitely see why it got his attention.”

The White House said the president will discuss education initiatives he plans to propose and efforts to enroll more people in college.

Last year, Gov. Bill Haslam introduced the Tennessee Promise plan that gives free tuition for the first two years at community college for high school graduates.

While the White House will not confirm whether President Obama will discuss the Tennessee Promise, PSCC students said it’s been a great benefit for students.

“It definitely helps,” PSCC student Nathan Williams said. “I think it empowers younger students to actually go to college.”

The president’s visit to PSCC will be a ticketed event for students, faculty and staff only. The lottery for the tickets is open until midnight Jan. 6 and the lottery can be accessed on the school’s website.

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