Biden task force pushes 'green jobs'
The first meeting of the White House's Middle Class Task Force on Friday focused on how the creation of so-called green jobs can help fuel the economic recovery and bolster the middle class.
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The meeting, which took place Friday afternoon at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and was live-blogged on the White House's website, is chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. Speakers included John Podesta, the president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank; Van Jones, president of Green for All, a group that seeks green jobs for the poor; Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund; Carol Browner, Obama's special adviser on energy and climate change; Leo Gerard, president of United Steelworkers; and Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia.
Many members of President Obama's Cabinet were also in attendance, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and the newly confirmed Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis.
In his opening remarks, Vice President Biden drew applause with this line:
Look, folks, we're making an unprecedented investment in this country, in the recovery of this country, and an unprecedented investment in clean energy, clean energy that will be able to create tens of thousands, over time, of good, high-paying jobs, the vast majority of which are not exportable – they're all American jobs.
Green for All's Mr. Jones, a civil rights activist and attorney who has long maintained that the work of building a greener infrastructure can provide a pathway out of crime and poverty, built on Biden's theme.
"There is a moral principle to green the ghetto first," he said. "To give young people the chance to put down that handgun and pick up a caulking gun."