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.
February 4, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency
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