By Thomas J. Walsh
Members of the city’s Green Economy Task Force headed to Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning (Feb. 4) to meet with lawmakers in advance of the Feb. 27 meeting in Philadelphia of the newly created federal Middle Class Task Force, to be led by Vice President Joe Biden.
Focusing on environmentally friendly development, renewable energy and the “green jobs” that go along with them, the delegation met with Pennsylvania Sens. Bob Casey and Arlen Specter, along with senior staffers for several local members of the House of Representatives. The idea is to advocate and inform the lawmakers about green economy issues and their potential for Philadelphia.
Two members of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Pat Eiding (president of the Philadelphia Council of the AFL-CIO) and Natalia Olson de Savyckyj, are participating in the trip.
PlanPhilly accompanied the delegation and will file a report on the discussions.
The group is in town during a three-day forum (the Good Jobs, Green Jobs National Conference) involving more than 2,000 labor, environmental and business advocates, gathered to shape the national debate about clean energy and green technologies investment. Tuesday was the official “advocacy day.”
The Green Economy Task Force, convened by the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, is a coalition of 50 area organizations that are “committed to planning a comprehensive green collar job strategy for Philadelphians, and we have been meeting for the last 8 months to make this a reality,” according to a statement.
The SBN received $125,000 in funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in December to develop a Green Jobs Corps – aimed at providing blue-collar jobs in companies that improve environmental quality.
While on Capitol Hill, the delegation will be urging lawmakers to support and fund the $500 million Green Jobs Act, proposed as part of the Obama administration’s recovery stimulus package. “The Green Jobs Act would help about 100,000 workers a year get trained and placed in jobs retrofitting and repowering the country, and has a special focus on creating ‘green pathways out of poverty,’” the group said in a statement.
The following is a partial list of members of the Philadelphia delegation in Washington Tuesday:
Fran Petriccione, project manager, Philadelphia Area Labor Management Committee
Carol Austin, vice president, Strategic Initiatives, Philadelphia Youth Network
Laureen Boles, civil engineer and environmental planner, Philadelphia Water Department
Heather Blakeslee, programs & advocacy Director, Delaware Valley Green Building Council
Katrina Schwartz, policy analyst, Energy Coordinating Agency
Christine Knapp, outreach director, PennFuture
Angel Rodriguez, executive director, The Empowerment Group
Charlie Szoradi, president, GreenAndSave.com
Jason Brady, associate regional representative, Sierra Club
Kate Houston, deputy director for Community Affairs, The Doe Fund, Inc.
Rob Stuart, president, Evolve Strategies
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