Every candidate is going to say his or her first priority is creating jobs for the district. Mine is as well. You cannot serve your district well if you can't work with other government officials and business leaders to help the local economy grow.
We have a highly effective representative who has served the fifth district honorably for the past six years. Still the local economy has stagnated due to national policies and corporate short-sightedness that have benefited the few at the expense of the rest of us.
The truth is that our district's future is closely linked with the national and global economies. In reality, job creation needs to occur in our district, our state, our region, and our nation.
The winner-take-all economy of the past three decades has left too many people behind. The first building block for the future has to be reversing the growing economic inequality in our country.
The past decade has been the first in our country's history when worker productivity has not benefited the very workers who have become more productive.
I support a budget that emphasizes middle-class job creation. Both the Progressive Caucus budget and the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network's Budget for a Millennial America offer blueprints for shared prosperity. The latter has the added benefit of being created by young citizens who are already having to deal with the problems created by the inequitable policies of the past three decades.
One of my ideas to create jobs
I am typically cynical of any idea that is labeled win/win. Most of the problems we face can only be solved with complex and difficult action in both the public and private sectors--involving sacrifice by some politically powerful players.
That being said, I think unemployment and climate change can be addressed jointly. This is partially true because our political "leaders" have been completely inept at addressing either issue during our current economic crisis. Unemployment seems stuck at its current woeful level and the data regarding CO2 emissions worsen almost daily.
My plan is to provide a sliding scale grant to property owners (homeowners, landlords, and commercial building owners) for improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.
For example a homeowner who decreased energy usage 19% percent for an 1800 square foot home would receive a grant of $9000.
The owners would be able to determine how they achieved the increased efficiency. So free market forces would be encouraged to find better and less expensive ways to make buildings use less energy. For older buildings, insulation and new windows could do the trick. Building owners who are committed to green technology could pursue solar or geothermal options. The bottom line is that because this is a grant program the government does not pick winners and losers.
To minimize fraud in the energy audits, community college students could be trained to perform the audits. There could also be incentives included within the program for high school and college students to design integrated plans for reducing energy consumption in public buildings.
This plan would put people to work in both trades and engineering. It would begin to address issues with CO2. It would give young people a way to be both civic-minded and improve their job skills. Even for a cynic like me, this is a plan that can be called a win/win.