The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Latest News

February 2, 2014

Gamesa blame game: Dem candidates point finger at gov; GOP chief dismisses talk

JOHNSTOWN — Two Democratic Party candidates for statewide office, Johnstown resident Mark Critz and Katie McGinty, of Wayne, Delaware County, are blaming Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for the recent closing of a wind turbine manufacturing plant in Cambria County.

Robert Gleason, chairman of Pennsylvania’s Republican Party, dismissed those opinions as “really a stretch.”

On Tuesday, Gamesa, a company based in Spain, announced plans to shut its Cambria Township facility on March 31, citing a shift in its customer market from Pennsylvania and the Midwest to the Southwest. Sixty-two jobs will be eliminated from the United Steelworkers of America Local 2635 shop. The plant employed more than 200 workers when it opened in 2006.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell and McGinty, his administration’s secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, supported building the facility. McGinty, a current candidate for governor, said she feels Corbett bears responsibility for the closing.

“Gov. Corbett continues to fail Pennsylvania’s workers, and this time, it’s the hard-working men and women who were employed at Gamesa in Cambria County,” said McGinty. “When I was secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, I helped bring those jobs to Cambria County. Unfortunately, Gov. Corbett actively advocated for increased taxes on the wind energy sector and opposed bipartisan legislative efforts to expand the market for renewable energy in Pennsylvania which, in turn, killed jobs.”

Corbett’s top energy adviser, Patrick Henderson, responded with an email to in which he stated McGinty should “educate herself on the facts: Gov. Corbett worked – and will continue to work – with the renewable energy industry on how we can support and sustain their growth here in PA.”

Critz was serving as a staffer for former U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, when politicians were working to attract Gamesa to the region. A current candidate for lieutenant governor, Critz feels the GOP’s stance on the federal wind production tax credit issue led to the shuttering.

The tax credit was established in 1992 at a rate of 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour generated. It eventually reached 2.3 cents through adjustments for inflation. In 2012, 47 Republican congressmen sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, asking him to let the tax credit expire because they felt it was too expensive and ineffective. The credit was extended for one year as part of the fiscal cliff deal in January 2013, but has since been allowed to expire.

Corbett did not support other members of the Governor’s Wind Energy Coalition in calling for an extension.

“Unfortunately, the misguided policies of a Tea Party-controlled Congress, with support from our own Gov. Corbett, led to the expiration of the Production Tax Credit and doomed our local facility,” said Critz, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2010 to 2013. “As a member of Congress, I was an outspoken supporter for both the production tax credit and for energy independence.”

Gleason, a Cambria County resident, disagreed with the statements made by Critz and McGinty.

“To blame the Republican Party for Gamesa closing is really a stretch,” said Gleason. “What Tom Corbett has done is make Pennsylvania an energy state.” He added, “My comment is that Gov. Corbett supports all kind of energy: renewable energy, fossil fuels and the nuclear industry. ... The Democrats are against the Marcellus Shale drilling and any more coal mining.”

Gleason accused Rendell’s administration of supporting what the chairman called “corporate welfare.”

The state contributed more than $9 million to construction of the $25 million Gamesa plant.

“It was great for the jobs, but we paid for the plant, so they should have had to stay there indefinitely,” Gleason said.

Dave Sutor is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Local briefs 4/20/2014

    April 19, 2014

  • Biggest student loan profits come from grad students

    This week, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the federal government would earn roughly $127 billion from student lending during the next 10 years.

    April 19, 2014

  • Smartphone kill switches are coming

    Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!

    April 19, 2014


Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

I'm not sure
     View Results
Order Photos

Photo Slideshow

House Ads