September 08, 2011
07:19 PM EDT
For nearly three decades, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the ideals of our nation have been invited to join the First Lady in her viewing box for speeches and events of national importance. Her guests for the President's address to a joint session of Congress are Americans who are passionately involved in fighting for job creation to grow our economy -- business leaders, elected officials, educators, veterans and students. Use the interactive feature below to learn more about the remarkable individuals who will join First Lady Michelle Obama to hear the President's plan to create jobs now.
Rollover to learn more about each guest invited
to sit with the First Lady.
First Lady Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama is the First Lady of the United States. Continuing a longstanding tradition, extraordinary Americans who exemplify the themes and ideals laid out in the President’s State of the Union Address attend the event as guests of the First Lady.
Dr. Jill Biden
Jill Biden is the wife of Vice President Biden. An educator and a proud Blue Star mom, Dr. Biden works to highlight the importance of community colleges, to raise awareness about the sacrifices made by military families, and to bring attention to women’s health issues.
Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She is also the Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls and she oversees the Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs; Public Engagement; Urban Affairs; and Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport.
Jeffrey R. Immelt is the ninth chairman and CEO of GE, a post he has held since September 7, 2001. Immelt currently serves as the chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Immelt has been named one of the "World’s Best CEOs" three times by Barron’s, and since he began serving as chief executive officer, GE has been named "America’s Most Admired Company" in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine. Immelt is also a member of The Business Council, and he is on the board of the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Mr. Immelt earned a B.A. degree in applied mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1978 and an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1982. He and his wife have one daughter.
Steve Case, currently chairman & CEO of Revolution LLC and chairman of the Startup America Partnership, co-founded America Online in 1985. Earlier this year at the White House, Case helped launch the Startup America Partnership, an independent private-sector coalition delivering strategic and substantive resources to help entrepreneurs start and scale companies across the U.S., in response to the President’s call to action. Case also serves as a co-chair of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and is a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. In addition, Steve chairs the Case Foundation, which seeks to tap new technologies and entrepreneurial approaches to help strengthen the social sector.
Darlene Miller is a small business owner and CEO of Permac Industries, a precision machining company custom manufacturing precision parts for customers worldwide in virtually all industries located in Burnsville, Minnesota. Miller currently serves as a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. She started working as a Sales Representative at Permac in 1992, became part owner in 1993 to 100% ownership of the company in 1994. Under Miller’s leadership Permac Industries was named the U.S. Chamber Small Business of the Year for the entire USA in 2008. Miller is currently a member of the U.S. Chamber Board of Directors and Advisory Council, board of directors for PMPA and MPMA (Manufacturing Trade Associations), and the Minnesota Valley Medical Manufacturers network (MEDNET), which she co-founded in 2006.
Kenneth Chenault is the Chairman and CEO of American Express Company. Ken Chenault joined American Express in September 1981 and assumed his current responsibilities as CEO and Chairman in 2001. Chenault currently serves as a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. Chenault serves on the boards of American Express and several other corporate and nonprofit organizations, including IBM, The Procter & Gamble Company, the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, the National Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse at Columbia University, the Smithsonian Institution’s Advisory Council for the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. He also is on the boards of the Partnership for New York City, The Business Council and the Business Roundtable and serves as Vice Chairman of each of these organizations.
Richard Trumka is the president of the AFL-CIO, and currently serves as a member of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. A third-generation coal miner from Nemacolin, Penn., Trumka began working in the mines at age 19. Trumka worked in the mines for more than seven years, supporting himself while attending Pennsylvania State University, where earned a Bachelor of Science degree, and through Villanova University, where he received a law degree. As a member of UMWA Local 6290, he served as Chairman of the Safety Committee and became an activist in the Miners for Democracy reform movement. He was elected to the UMWA executive board in 1981 and elected international president in 1982.
Governor Martin O’Malley is currently serving his second term as governor of Maryland. He also serves as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association and co-chair of the National Governor’s Association’s Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. Prior to assuming the governorship, O’Malley served on the Baltimore City Council from 1991 to 1999, was appointed assistant state’s attorney for the city of Baltimore, and then served as the Mayor of Baltimore for two terms. As Governor, O’Malley has focused on job creation by spurring innovation in all sectors of business, academia, and government. O’Malley holds a BA from Catholic University and JD from the University of Maryland. He and his wife, Katie, a District court judge have four children.
Mayor Mark Mallory
A lifelong Cincinnatian, Mallory was elected Mayor of Cincinnati in 2005 and won a second term in 2009. In 1994, he succeeded his father, Majority Floor Leader William L. Mallory, Sr., in the Ohio House of Representatives. Four years later, he moved to the Ohio Senate where he rose to the position of Assistant Minority Leader. He is the first directly-elected black Mayor of Cincinnati and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Antonio Villaraigosa was first elected mayor in 2005, then re-elected in 2009. He is the current resident of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). In 2008, Mayor Villaraigosa passed a sales tax increase to invest in creating 166,000 transportation jobs in Los Angeles. As president of USCM, he has led a bipartisan coalition of 165 mayors in support of an extension of the transportation reauthorization bill.
Dr. Albert Green
Dr. Green is CEO of Kent Displays, a rapidly expanding small business in Kent, Ohio, and serves on its Board of Directors. In February, Dr. Green participated in the "Winning the Future Small Business Forum" in Cleveland. Since Dr. Green took the reins of Kent Displays CEO in 2007, he has guided the company’s transition from a focus on research and development to product development and manufacturing. Under his leadership, Kent Displays successfully launched the award-winning Boogie Board LCD Writing Tablet in 2010, manufactured on the world’s only roll-to-roll LCD production line, which began operation in 2008 at the company’s headquarters in Kent, Ohio. This successful consumer product has driven a doubling of revenue and employment in the past 2 years.
Jan Heister is president and chairperson of the Board of Directors for Premier Tooling and Mfg., Inc. in Peosta, Iowa. Jan participated in a small business session during the Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa last month. Prior to joining Premier, Jan worked in hospital and clinic settings as a Registered Nurse. While working in the hospital she served as supervisor of an operating room, recovery room, and charge nurse on the medical-surgical unit. She has also worked 12 years as an office nurse in an orthopedic clinic. Jan is a graduate of The Finley Hospital School of Nursing.
Philip Maung is a small business owner and founder of Hissho Sushi, a 200-employee company headquartered in southwest Charlotte that trains sushi chefs and distributes ingredients for the food across the country. Founded 13 years ago, the company has grown consistently in the past decade, including a 62 percent increase in revenues last year. Philip Maung arrived in America with just $13 in his pocket and a dream of making a new life. In 1998, Philip and his wife Kristina pooled their finances to found the company in the family dining room. Today, Hissho Sushi is a dynamic foodservice and distribution company managing and operating more than 400 sushi bars across the U.S. Their 46,000 square foot, state-of-the-art headquarters are located in Charlotte, NC.
Gracey Ibarra, a mother of two children, is a 2009 high school graduate and has earned her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certification. Gracey enrolled in the WIA Youth Program through Inter-County Community Council, which combined education with clinical experience and led her to a career in the medical field. She currently works as a CNA in a nursing home.
Joseph Kidd, a 30 year old father, was deployed to Iraq in 2007. After he returned from Iraq, his daughter was born in January of 2009, and he was deployed again in May of 2009 as part of the 22D Marine Expeditionary Unit. Once Kidd returned, he was appointed to the Emergency Room at Camp Lejeune and later became the Leading Petty Officer. In August, Kidd was one of five veterans to eat lunch with President Obama in Cannon Falls, MN during the rural bus tour. Kidd asked the President to help with credentialing programs. The President’s staff is now actively working on the concept of a "career ready military." In late August, Kidd returned to school and studying pre-nursing.
John Raftery served in the U.S. Marine Corp with 1st Marine Division and currently serves as the president and CEO of Patriot Contractors, a construction firm, specializing in interior and exterior architectural specialties. A service-disabled, veteran-owned company founded in 2007, John has seen growth in revenues and employees each and every year of operation. Today, Patriot Contractors has 21 employees. In 2010, John’s company generated revenues that hit $2M, and he is on track to exceed $5M in 2011. John is a 2007 graduate of the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans at Syracuse University and holds a BBS from Dallas Baptist University.
Nicole Gentile, married with two children, is a third grade teacher at Marion-Sterling Elementary in Cleveland, Ohio. She is at risk of being laid off given the district’s budget situation. Thirteen of her colleagues are also at risk of being laid off.
Kelcie Fisher is currently a senior at Open High, a Blue Ribbon school located in downtown Richmond, Virginia. Open High School will be 100 years old this year and needs to be modernized. Born and raised in Richmond, Kelcie has been a part of the Richmond Public Schools family throughout her entire educational career.
Hector R. Sealey
Hector Sealey began working with Fort Myer Construction in August 2006 and continues as corporate director of safety, risk management and compliance officer for the corporation. Sealey has 18 years of safety and quality control management experience and 4 years of project management, with an overall of 30 years experience in the construction industry. Hector, along with almost a million workers, is at risk of losing his job if Congress does not act and the transportation bill expires. Hector joined President Obama in the Rose Garden when he called for a clean extension of the transportation bill last month.
Kirk Bergstrom, 43, is a project engineer with Denver Transit Partners (DTP), the consortium of investment, engineering, construction and operations and maintenance companies currently executing the $2 billion Eagle Public-Private Partnership in Denver, Colorado. The Eagle P3 Project is a new commuter railroad line that will connect Downtown Denver and Denver International Airport and also downtown with a portion of western Denver. Before the Eagle P3 Project, Kirk was going to have to leave his family and travel back-and-forth to Kansas to work on another construction project. DTP, thanks to this federally funded project, was able to give him a career close to his home.
In 2006 David Catalano co-founded Modea, a digital advertising agency in Blacksburg, VA. As president, Catalano and his executive team have grown the company 75-100% each year - eclipsing $10 million in annual revenue. Catalano has been able to maintain his home in rural Virginia and build a globally competitive company, highlighting the importance of the need to provide high speed broadband access to all parts of the country. Modea has hired over 80 creative professionals from across the country. Halfway through his senior year at Virginia Tech, Catalano put his degree on hold to co-found a product marketing agency producing content for the largest e-commerce sites on the web. After leading it to profitability in 2005, Catalano left the company to finish his Finance degree and start Modea.
Dannie and Sabrina Mangrum
Dannie Mangrum is a Maryland corrections officer and Sabrina is getting her teaching degree at Coppin State. The couple has two sons and a daughter, and is earnestly anticipating the adoption of three foster children with Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area. A tax cut would benefit their family as they are looking for ways to provide for their children and their education.
Technician Jessica T. Pickett joined Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in April 2006 where she currently functions as a field Firefighter/Medic. Technician Pickett is actively involved with the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2068 and serves as the Chairperson of the EMS Committee. Technician Pickett was awarded the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce Certificate of Valor in 2010 for actions involving personal risk and demonstration of judgment beyond the expected performance of duties. Prior to joining the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, Technician Pickett studied Biological Sciences at The George Washington University in Washington, DC and was a George C. Marshall Scholar and Rhodes Scholarship finalist.
Marlena Clark is a graduate of Anne Arundel Community College (AACC) and a resident of Maryland. After working a number of minimum wage jobs and worrying about her future, she decided that her local community college would provide the best opportunity for a career path to success. She worked two jobs while taking courses in the Information Systems Security program, and was involved in a mentoring program focused on retaining women in IT careers. She is now a full-time systems engineer. As part of her ongoing outreach on community colleges, Dr. Biden visited Anne Arundel Community College last September to highlight the school’s workforce development programs.
Tamara Washington is a single mother, taking care of her 3 year old son Amir, in Torrance, CA. Tamara believes her hard work will enable her to provide quality healthcare and education for her son. While it has not been easy, many programs and organizations were there to help, including subsidized employment in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Fund, which allowed her to obtain a job that enabled her to support her son.
Jon CarsonSeptember 08, 2011
05:24 PM EDT
In the midst of all the Washington noise over debt ceilings and deficits, federal budgets, and continuing resolutions, it’s hard for people to believe that their voice makes a difference. As the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, I’m here to tell you that it does - and that especially this summer, during one of the most historic fights in our fiscal history - it did.
When Republicans called for a budget that would have ended Medicare as we know it, made catastrophic cuts to Medicaid, cut investments in education by 25%, clean energy by 70% and infrastructure spending by 30% - voices from around the country made clear they did not support this direction for our country.
In between your full-time job, cooking dinners, shuttling kids to birthday parties, and caring for ailing family members (just to name a few of the things that keep us all, myself included, a little sleep-deprived), you made your voices heard by attending town hall meetings, posting hundreds of blogs and sharing thousands of Tweets. Make no mistake – the chorus of your collective voices made a profound impact on protecting programs and investments in our future we care about.
Tonight the President will lay out his plan to put America back to work. If you agree with President Obama’s vision – don’t stay silent. We know how hard you worked this summer, and we know how busy you’ll be this fall, but if you want to see Washington put politics aside, and pass the President’s jobs plan – then let us hear from you.
Jon Carson is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Office of Public Engagement.
Find out more about the American Jobs Act
Nikki SuttonSeptember 08, 2011
03:54 PM EDT
Tonight at 7:00 p.m. EDT, President Obama will lay out his plan for creating American jobs and growing our economy in a speech before a special joint session of Congress. During the President's address, WhiteHouse.gov will offer an easy way for you to visualize the key components of the President's plan while watching the speech. Just like during the State of the Union, you can watch an enhanced live stream with charts, graphs, and quick stats at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Be sure to stay tuned immediately following the President's speech, for a live panel where policy experts from the White House will answer your questions. Submit your questions now and the panel will address as many questions as they can after the speech:
- on Twitter: use the hashtag #WHChat
- on Facebook: post your questions to our wall at facebook.com/whitehouse
- or submit a question here on WhiteHouse.gov
Find out more about the American Jobs Act
Stephanie CutterSeptember 08, 2011
03:05 PM EDT
Today, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed two challenges to the Affordable Care Act. This decision is another victory for the Affordable Care Act and the tens of millions of Americans already benefiting from this landmark law, including parents with a child with a preexisting condition, women getting mammograms with no out of pocket cost, seniors saving thousands of dollars on their prescription drugs and young adults now getting covered on their parent’s plan. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, when fully implemented, insurance companies will never be able to deny millions of Americans coverage for a pre-existing condition, never drop them if they get sick, and never bill them into bankruptcy because of an illness or injury.
Today’s decision marks the second victory for health reform in a federal appeals court. Previously, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found the Affordable Care Act constitutional.
In today’s ruling, the 4th Circuit determined that lawsuits filed by Liberty University and the Virginia Attorney General must be dismissed for jurisdictional reasons. Importantly, two judges -- Judge Davis and Judge Wynn – wrote that if the lawsuits were not dismissed, they would rule in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Judge Wynn wrote:
...I would uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act…
And Judge Davis wrote:
Reaching the merits, I would hold that the challenged provisions of the Act are a proper exercise of Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause to regulate the interstate markets for health services and health insurance.
In the weeks ahead, the legal process regarding the Affordable Care Act will continue. When it ends, we are confident we will prevail.
Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusSeptember 08, 2011
12:38 PM EDT
While different patients may need different treatments, rights and privileges should be equal. This week, we’re taking big steps forward to improve the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) patients and their loved ones.
Couples take a vow to be with each other in sickness and in health, and it is unfortunate that, in the past, some same-sex partners were denied the right to visit their loved ones in times of need. Hospital visits from loved ones are key to a patient’s recovery. And patients should be able to focus on their recovery process without worrying about whether their loved one will be admitted to their hospital room. With this in mind, we’ve released guidance for enforcing new rules that give all patients, including those with same-sex partners, the right to choose who can visit them in the hospital. The guidance also addresses the enforcement of other rules that govern the right of patients to choose who will help make medical decisions on their behalf should they become incapacitated. This is intended to make it easier for family members, including a same-sex domestic partner, to make informed care decisions for loved ones who have become incapacitated.
Amy DudleySeptember 08, 2011
10:02 AM EDT
As part of the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Vice President Joe Biden hosted a screening for Washington, DC area college students of REBIRTH, a documentary film that chronicles the lives of five people directly affected by the events on 9/11. The film follows a survivor from the South Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC); a firefighter who survived the collapse of the WTC but lost his best friend; a high school student who lost his mother; a young woman who lost her fiancé; and a construction worker who lost his brother, assisted with recovery efforts, and is presently helping to build the Freedom Tower.
The area college students were invited to the White House screening to reflect on the tragic events that shaped their generation and their country, and that continue to affect the world today. In remarks introducing the film, Vice President Biden emphasized the extraordinary ability of America to find renewal and rebirth even in its darkest hours and praised the courage and determination of the survivors and family members struggling to find renewal in their own lives.
Colleen CurtisSeptember 08, 2011
08:22 AM EDT
Tonight President Obama will be addressing a joint session of Congress to share a plan to create jobs and grow our economy. His Senior Advisor, David Plouffe, who was with the President as he crafted the strategy, says we can expect to hear the President detail a plan that will rebuild our economy by making sure those that work hard and play by the rules are not left behind, and that the President will issue a challenge to Congress to meet their responsibilities in the same way everyone around the country has stepped up to meet their own.
You can watch the President's speech live tonight at 7 pm EST on any of the major networks, or come to www.whitehouse.gov/live to see an enhanced web presentation.
Find out more about the American Jobs Act
Sarah BernardSeptember 08, 2011
07:00 AM EDT
Tonight, immediately following the President's address to Congress at 7pm ET, stay tuned for a live panel of policy experts from the White House who will answer your questions about key issues of the speech in a special edition of "Open for Questions" at whitehouse.gov/live.
Expected panelists include:
- Stephanie Cutter, Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor
- Brian Deese, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director, National Economic Council
- Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education Policy
- Portia Wu, Senior Policy Advisor for Mobility and Opportunity Policy
Do you have questions about the President's jobs and growth proposal? Send us your thoughts, and the panel will address as many questions as they can after the speech.
- on Twitter: use the hashtag #WHChat
- on Facebook: post your questions to our wall at facebook.com/whitehouse
- or submit a question here on WhiteHouse.gov
P.S. This won't be your only chance to ask questions in the coming days. Follow @whitehouse to learn about upcoming 'Office Hours' opportunities.
Find out more about the American Jobs Act
Nikki SuttonSeptember 07, 2011
07:10 PM EDT
Today, President Obama congratulated Jimmie Johnson on his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship and welcomed other 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Jeff Burton to the White House. During his remarks, the President reflected that the last time many of the drivers were at the White House he was honoring Jimmie Johnson for his third straight championship:
And that’s why Jimmie is not just one of the best drivers of all time -- he’s up there with some of the great sports dynasties. If you think about it, only the Boston Celtics, the Yankees and the Canadiens have ever won more than four titles in a row. And now Jimmie is breathing down the necks of Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for the most NASCAR titles ever, which is not bad for the son of a machine operator and a school bus driver who still has plenty of seasons ahead of him.
Jimmie’s talent has been to make a very difficult, demanding sport look easy. But this year, the Number 48 team also showed its toughness. They entered the last race of the Chase trailing, and ended up pulling off an extraordinary comeback.
Secretary Ray LaHoodSeptember 07, 2011
03:30 PM EDT
Yesterday I wrote about the air traffic professionals who safely cleared America's airspace on the tragic morning of September 11, 2001. Today, the Maritime Administration is proud to share a new video about the merchant mariners of the New York City area who used their skills and vessels to help evacuate more than 300,000 people from the chaos of Lower Manhattan.
"Rescue at Water's Edge" tells the story of the tugs, ferries, and tour boats--manned by selfless captains and crew members--who sailed into an uncertain situation to shuttle people away from the horror downtown.
September 07, 2011
01:50 PM EDT
On Wednesday August 31st, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness announced fifty industry leaders that have committed to increasing the number of engineering internships available at their companies in 2012. These commitments announced on Wednesday will add approximately 6,300 additional opportunities for engineering students, and part of a greater Jobs Council effort to address America’s engineering shortage by graduating 10,000 more engineering students from U.S. colleges and universities each year.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said these commitments are important for the country, “For America to stay competitive in the global market, we must train and retain the world’s best engineers.”
Following the initial announcement, even more companies have pledged support. Just this week, Praxair Inc., Goodrich Corporation, HCA Healthcare, The Kroger Co., CH2M Hill and Cognizant Technology Solutions, Inc. promised to double the number of internships they offer next year, while Corning Incorporated, Eastman Chemical Company and US Steel promised to increase the number of internships for 2012, boosting the total of new internship opportunities to over 6,800 and giving even more engineering students the opportunity and experience they need to stay competitive and create a lasting impact on our country.
Nikki SuttonSeptember 07, 2011
12:48 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama will welcome Jimmie Johnson and other 2010 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers to the White House to honor Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. Watch the event live from the East Room of the White House beginning at 4:45 p.m. EDT at WhiteHouse.gov/live.
During his remarks, the President will also recognize the efforts by Jimmie Johnson and NASCAR to give back to their community, continuing a tradition of honoring athletes and sports teams for their efforts on and off the field.
This won't be the first time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson has been honored at the White House. Check out a video of President Obama getting a look under the hood of his #48 Lowe's Chevy during an earlier visit:
Amy DudleySeptember 07, 2011
11:22 AM EDT
Vice President Joe Biden, accompanied by daughter-in-law Kathleen and his granddaughter Naomi, recently visited Pearl Harbor to pay his respects at the USS Arizona Memorial – a 184-foot structure that rests atop the midsection of the sunken World War Two battleship. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The USS Arizona, one of 21 battleships attacked on December 7th, 1941, is the final resting place for 1,177 American crewmen. It represents the greatest loss of life on any ship that day and about half of the total number of Americans killed in the attack.
The Vice President and his family visited the memorial at sunset, and were given a tour by Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command and Admiral Patrick Walsh, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Vice President had the opportunity to personally reflect on the overwhelming loss of life in the memorial’s sanctuary, where 1,177 names of the fallen are etched in marble on the wall. Admiral Walsh noted that survivors of the attack have the right to again join their brothers in arms by designating that their final resting place be with their shipmates interred beneath the sea in the USS Arizona.
Secretary Ray LaHoodSeptember 06, 2011
06:42 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from Fast Lane, the blog of the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.
In his weekly address on Saturday, President Obama called on Congress to do what it has done seven times over the past two years: pass a clean extension of the transportation bill.
Allowing funding for America's roads and bridges to expire would be disastrous for our nation's economy, costing nearly one million construction workers their jobs over the next year, furloughing 4,000 transportation professionals, and losing almost $1 billion in revenue after the first ten days alone.
According to a new report from the National Economic Council, a lapse in the federal program that supports road, bridge, and transit work would jeopardize more than 140,000 active projects and hundreds of thousands of jobs. As the President said, "Those are serious consequences, and the pain will be felt all across the country. In Virginia, 19,000 jobs are at risk. In Minnesota, more than 12,000. And in Florida, over 35,000 people could be out of work if Congress doesn’t act."
Nikki SuttonSeptember 06, 2011
04:22 PM EDT
Tomorrow is the grand opening of Austin's Warrior Playroom, a great new addition to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Austin's Playroom is a space for young family members of wounded warriors to play and relax while their parents attend to medical needs.
Mario Lemieux, the current owner and former NHL player who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to two consecutive Stanley Cups, and his wife Nathalie Lemieux helped make Austin's Warrior Playroom possible as an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation. Before the grand opening they received a preview of the playroom and Nathalie Lemieux had this to share:
Recently, my husband, Mario, and I were given a “sneak-peek” at the Austin’s Warrior Playroom located in the newly-established Warrior Transition Unit on the campus of the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. While not scheduled to officially open until September, our dreams for this special playroom are nearly complete.
The 2,000 sq. ft. playroom will accommodate children from six weeks up to 12 years. The room is equipped with the newest toys and games including video gaming systems, creative and imaginative play areas and an interactive kiosk. From our personal experience, this room will give children a space to call their own while parents attend to medical needs, but will also allow them to remain together as a family. We believe providing an environment that is cheerful, safe and comfortable for children and patients is an essential complement to medical treatment when addressing the quality of a child and families’ hospital experience.
When we began Austin’s Playroom Project in 2000 as an initiative of the Mario Lemieux Foundation, I never dreamed it would grow so large. Our son, Austin, was born profoundly pre-mature at Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and with two young daughters, it was difficult to manage our time together. It was then that we dreamed of someday helping future families who find themselves in similar situations. Since that time, we have established 22 playrooms throughout western Pennsylvania, with six more scheduled to open by the end of 2012.
Austin’s Warrior Playroom marks a new initiative in the Austin’s Playroom Project. The Mario Lemieux Foundation is proud to join forces with the US military to establish an Austin’s Playroom in the new Medical Center to bring joy and happiness in what otherwise will be a very difficult and stressful situation. We hope this playroom provides comfort, warmth and love for these very special families.
Learn how you can support military families at JoiningForces.gov and check out more preview photos of Austin's Playroom at Walter Reed Medical Center:
Secretary Ray LaHoodSeptember 06, 2011
02:33 PM EDT
This Sunday, our nation will mark a somber occasion, the tenth anniversary of September 11th. There is much to remember about that day--the thousands of lives lost and families upended, the life-saving first responders at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the heroes of United Airlines flight 93.
Today, the Federal Aviation Administration is sharing a video about the quick-thinking air traffic professionals who recognized that the errant blips on their radar screens posed a potential threat to every passenger on every plane in our skies that morning. In response, they were able to completely shut down U.S. airspace.
September 06, 2011
10:41 AM EDT
Ed. Note: The deadline to submit Spring 2012 White House Internship Program applications is September 11, 2011. Learn more and apply today.
In my White House Internship application, I wrote about my vision of a federal government committed to reaching out to communities that may have never felt their voices mattered. Yet even as I wrote it, I wondered whether this was the type of government I would find if selected to work at the White House.
Towards the end of my internship, I had an experience beyond my wildest imagination and that confirmed the Administration’s commitment to service and outreach. On that day, the East Room in the White House was lined on every side by more than 100 young African men and women. U.S. Ambassadors across Africa had nominated them because of their exceptional achievements in fields ranging from business, to human rights, to social welfare and development. They were invited to Washington, D.C. for the President’s Forum for Young African Leaders where they would have a chance to speak directly to the President and share their visions for the future of Africa.
September 06, 2011
06:00 AM EDT
Now that our nation’s children are back in school, I will be travelling through six states with this important message: our nation’s long-term economic security is inextricably linked to education. We have to educate our way to a better economy.
The jobs of today and tomorrow will require knowledge workers with some postsecondary training, whether it is an associate or bachelor’s degree, or technical training available from a vocational school or community college.
Unfortunately, America has a long way to go before we can truly say we’re educating today’s children to be competitive in the knowledge economy. By many indicators, we’re falling far short.
The Obama administration has a cradle-to-career agenda to support states and districts as they reform their schools and make college more affordable for students. This agenda is designed around key principles, including:
- Creating early learning systems that align all of their resources to get our youngest children ready for kindergarten.
- Raising standards so they actually prepare students for success in college and careers.
- Improving the quality of teaching in the classroom by improving the preparation, professional development, and evaluation of teachers and principals.
- And turning around persistently low-performing schools that have been failing students for decades or even generations.
It’s an aggressive agenda, and we’re backing it up with unprecedented investments in reform. We’ve already made the largest investment in higher education since the GI Bill. We’re creating new incentives for states to align their early learning programs to ensure all children are ready for kindergarten. Through Race to the Top, states have made more progress in reform over the past two years than in the previous decade. And the President has a plan to fix No Child Left Behind by offering states flexibility from its one-size-fits all mandates.
Nevertheless, reform will happen in states and communities. Our job in Washington is to provide resources and support for the excellent work happening in states and communities.
That’s why I’m so excited about this week’s bus tour. All across the Midwest, members of my team will be visiting communities where elected officials, union leaders, business owners, and teachers are working together to transform the lives of children.
In these communities, we’ll hear the stories of people working together to create world-class schools. We’re going to see innovative approaches to fixing broken teacher evaluation systems, turning around underperforming schools, and tackling other challenges. We’re going to watch extraordinary people doing extraordinary things to transform the lives of children.
These are the inspirational stories that are happening all over America. They are the reason I’m optimistic that the American people are ready to embrace reform and prepare our young people to be leaders in the knowledge economy.
Katelyn SabochikSeptember 05, 2011
04:38 PM EDT
Today, President Obama traveled to Detroit, Michigan where he spoke at a Labor Day picnic with workers at a GM plant. During his remarks, the President spoke of the important role the labor unions have played in establishing the “cornerstones of middle-class security:”
Work to make sure that folks get an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work. Work to make sure that families get a fair shake. The work you've done that helped build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. I’m talking about the work that got us a 40-hour workweek and weekends, and paid leave and pensions, and the minimum wage and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare -- the cornerstones of middle-class security. That's because of your work.
If you want to know who helped lay these cornerstones of an American middle class you just have to look for the union label.
That’s the bedrock this country is built on. Hard work. Responsibility. Sacrifice. Looking out for one another. Giving everybody a shot, everybody a chance to share in America’s prosperity, from the factory floor to the boardroom. That’s what unions are all about.
Kori SchulmanSeptember 05, 2011
03:54 PM EDT
We’re excited to announce our next White House Tweetup: a Tweetup Briefing! The day after President Obama’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress, some lucky tweeple will have the chance to come to the White House and ask Press Secretary Jay Carney their questions, as well as questions from their followers.
This briefing marks the third White House Tweetup, an in-person meet-up with people who follow the White House on Twitter. White House Tweetups give @WhiteHouse followers the chance to attend events, engage with Administration officials and share their ideas with other @WhiteHouse followers.
What are you waiting for? Learn more and apply here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/tweetup. Note: The deadline to apply is 2:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 6th.
The White House uses Twitter to share breaking news, provide updates and engage with the people across the country. Join the 2.4 million @whitehouse followers, and be sure to check out all of our other official accounts:
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