A top official in the U-S Commerce Department was in Iowa this week, just after issuing a report on the status of manufacturing in America. Under Secretary Grant Aldonas says while Maytag has moved some operations to Mexico, it could end up helping workers in Maytag’s plant in Newton.Aldonas says when Maytag is manufacturing washing machines and dryers in Newton with components made in Mexico, those components are less expensive to produce in Mexico. He says that means Maytag is more competitive, and the jobs in Newton are “more secure.” Aldonas says if American manufacturers are to remain competitive, there must be reform of the U-S legal system, a new federal energy policy and a move to reduce health care costs. Aldonas says President Bush has made proposals to accomplish those goals, but democrats in the U-S Senate have blocked Bush’s plans. Aldonas is one of four federal officials who were in Iowa this past week as the Bush/Kerry race is too close to call here. Kerry and Bush were also in the state this week; Bush returns today for a campaign rally in Waterloo. Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards will campaign in Newton on Monday.