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Van Jones returns, will speak at forum with Kirsten Gillibrand

By Garance Franke-Ruta
Controversial former Obama administration official Van Jones is scheduled to discuss the Obama administration's jobs agenda at a forum with Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in early March, according to an e-mail Thursday from the organizer of the invitation-only event.

Jones had been the Special Advisor for Green Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation at the White House Council on Environmental Quality when he resigned from the administration in September. Conservative activists, media personalities and elected Republican officials had called for Jones's ouster for his political views and writings.

Gillibrand faces reelection in the fall and may face a primary challenge from former Tennessee representative Harold Ford Jr., who has been publicly considering a run.

The forum, at the Harvard Club in New York, is being sponsored by the Agenda Project, a group founded by Democratic organizational and communications consultant Erica Payne. Payne is also the founder of progressive consulting firm the Tesseract Group and was a co-founder of the Democracy Alliance.

"Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in the green jobs movement. He also happens to be a super fun speaker so this will be a very lively conversation!" wrote Payne in the invitation to the March 8 early-morning discussion, which also describes Jones as a "Green Jobs legend."

From her letter:

As you likely know, new jobless claims are worse than expected at 480,000. One out of 10 Americans are unemployed, 1 out of 6 are 'under-employed'. In light of this (and perhaps in the wake of a crushing defeat in Massachusetts), the President appears to have turned his attention to addressing this problem. The budget he presented to congress includes $100 billion in job-creating measures including tax credits for green jobs and infrastructure projects. He proposes increasing the size of SBA loads to $5 million from $2 million, giving community banks access to $30 billion to lend directly to small businesses, tax credits for 95% of the country's workers through an extension of the Making Work Pay program. But is this enough? How much effect will it have and how quickly? Will these programs create the jobs we need to create for a 21st century economy? Or do they only address short-term problems? What does it mean for regular Americans? In the face of endless deficit news, how much of this budget will survive?
For insight into both the policies and the politics around this critical issue, we will be joined by two awesome leaders - Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Green Jobs legend Van Jones.

Payne describes the Agenda Project as a group "formed to help realize the promise of this pivotal moment in American history" that will hold "several by-invitation-only gatherings around policy and political strategy" over the coming year, ranging from policy breakfasts to salon dinners, book parties and private movie screenings. She did not return an e-mail or phone call Thursday about Jones's appearance.

By Garance Franke-Ruta  |  February 4, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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The best photo is of Al Gore and Osama discussing Global Warming.

Posted by: RayOne | February 7, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"Green Jobs Legend"......come on, it is much too early in the day for sick jokes...I would hope that someone would give the lady legislator a copy of Jones' bio..............ah, hell, don't bother....she might miss the point of it all.

Posted by: connyankee1 | February 6, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Jones is back, but he actually never left merely went underground.
I expect the Rev. Wright to re-emerge soon.
The superficiality of Marxism and Black Liberation Theology will take the front page soon.

Posted by: RayOne | February 6, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

Why is Van Jones back.He is trouble to America.We are living in a democracy where our elected representatives are in Washington to vote for the will of the people.Why do we now have a group of elitist trying to tell u s what is best for us when they have no idea what is going on in our country except their own personal interests.
The government choose to ignore the will of those of us who put them in office.Everyone in office is being paid very well to represent us, and nor rubber stamp bad legislation. We will vote out anyone who is refusing to do their job.The arrogance of our representatives is disgusting.
The thing America and its legal citizen's want more than anything is jobs so we can get back to work to take care of ourselves without the help of Welfare...We need JOBS in order to survive. Democrat, Republican. It does not work anymore we have to stick together as United Americans first.We are now divided thanks to the political arena. The politicians are all in their Big world of corruption.The hate both parties have for each other is out of control.We do not need dictatorship in America It is criminal what is happening in our country. No wonder every American Legal citizen is fighting mad.

Posted by: peggydlhk | February 5, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Fascinating -- in an article about the return of Van Jones, the only mention of why he backed out in the first place is that it was "for his political views and writings."

Why is there no mention of the SUBSTANCE of those views and writings? Is it because most people still understand that communism is a bad thing? JONES EVEN ADMITTED TO BEING A COMMUNIST, YET THE WRITERS AT THE WASHINGTON POST CAN'T BRING THEMSELVES TO POINT THIS OUT. That's disgraceful. Journalism needs a revival. Dare to expose the truth, and watch how people will flock to read it.

Posted by: poplab | February 5, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Since the LIB/DEM's love 'guilt by association' propaganda attacks; this is a 'made-for-tv' match that will invite a lot of negative publicity.

Will they 'fist each other' in a mutually satisfying manner?

Maybe Howard Stern could moderate?

Posted by: Common_Cents1 | February 5, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The Progressive agenda of remaking America into a socialist utopia where the poor and uneducated masses can survive without having to work is now a fait accompli. When a moderate (so called) Dem embraces a radical Marxist, it's just icing on the cake.

Posted by: apberusdisvet | February 5, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Great! We need to encourage more of these closed-door get togethers of worthless Obamnations. They help them confort each other while the ship in sinking and maintains their oblivion to what's going on around them. Them when November comes around, Bam!, they're gone before they know what hit them. I applaud my alma mater for hosting this nonsensical event.

Posted by: Narquan | February 5, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Is this forum to help Gillibrand of Jones? The New York race is attracing a whole lot of media. And Forde, too. Caroline K, where are you?

Honestly I think the Democrats could do well if they had you on board. With the LION of the Senate gone, your name on a ballot could have proven to be very helpful. However, let the games begin!

Posted by: Victoria5 | February 5, 2010 4:53 AM | Report abuse

These two "intellectuals " are going to speak about unemployment and the green economy. Good grief , Kirsten when you were upstate you were a moderate.Since becoming a senator you vote to continue funding Acorn , the train wreck called heathcare reform and now associate with Van Jones a 9/11 truther . Good luck with that re-election campaign. The voters of New York have your number, its Hasta LaVista baby in November !

Posted by: pwrpar | February 4, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Van Jones is a U.S. hating Marxist whose main objective is helping Obama destroy the U.S. He deserves to live in Cuba or another failed and enslaved socialist/Marxist country.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | February 4, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

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