Ed. Note: This post is part of the Celebrating Black History Month series, which highlights African Americans from across the Administration whose work contributes to the President's goals for winning the future.
The greatest influence in my life is my grandmother, Dr. Lena F. Edwards, whose commitment to public service and to minority communities has always inspired me. My grandmother was a pioneer for both women and African Americans, as one of the first African American women to graduate from Howard Medical School in the early 1920s. For decades, she provided health services to the minority communities in DC and New Jersey and also built and staffed a 25 bed hospital in Texas for Mexican migrant workers. In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of her work. Her achievements are particularly meaningful as we celebrate Black History Month, and as I serve as General Counsel of the Department of the Treasury under our Nation’s first African American President.
I was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey and attended New York University’s Stern School of Business, Columbia Law School, and Columbia Business School. Throughout my career, I have understood the importance and the responsibility of giving back to our communities and to our country and have participated in reading literacy programs for minority youths, legal services program for the poor, and mentoring programs for minority law students as they seek job opportunities. My experiences with these programs came to mind as I listened to President Obama’s State of the Union address, where he laid out his plan for educating children, rebuilding our infrastructure, and creating more job opportunities for Americans.
As General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury, I have the privilege of leading approximately 2,000 talented attorneys as we work together to implement the programs and policies of this Administration to stabilize the financial system and reinvigorate our economy. The most powerful way to create jobs is to make sure the economy is growing more rapidly. Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Geithner, our economy is growing, and it will continue to grow through investments in infrastructure and innovation as well as reform of the corporate tax code. In addition, the President has put in place a comprehensive set of measures and tax incentives for small businesses, which are important components for boosting our economy. Economic growth will translate into a substantial and meaningful increase in the rate in which we’re getting people back to work.
Although we have made a lot of progress, there are still many challenges ahead. However, the President has presented an optimistic and confident vision for how we will meet those challenges. The talented public servants who I work with at the Treasury Department are committed to this vision. As President Obama has said, we can win the future together.
George Madison is General Counsel for the Department of the Treasury.