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2 Credit Ivan  Cutler -Carolina Peacemak

Harris: ‘It’s about good jobs’

By Yasmine Regester
Peacemaker Staff Writer

Flanked by secret service and armed guards, United States Vice President Kamala Harris descended the stairs from Air Force 2 at the special terminal of the Piedmont Triad Airport on the morning of April 19.

She arrived around 10:35 a.m. and was greeted on the airport tarmac by Congresswoman Kathy Manning (NC-6), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Reagan and N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, who accompanied her on a daylong tour of the area. Greensboro was just one stop on the Vice President’s cross-country tour to discuss the President’s American Jobs Act.

Harris’ first stop was at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing at Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown where she addressed a small audience of about 40 people comprised of local and statewide elected officials, students and college leaders. 

The short program opened with remarks from GTCC President Dr. Anthony J. Clarke, EPA Administrator Michael Reagan, N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper, Congresswoman Kathy Manning and GTC Computer Integrated Machining Technology student Vanessa Keshguerian.

President Joe Biden’s American Jobs Act specifically calls for support for community college partnerships that help build capacity for job training programs and in-demand skills. During her remarks, Harris touted the AJP investments into good, decent paying jobs. 

“It’s not just about jobs, it’s about good jobs,” she said.  “I believe you shouldn’t have to work more than one job to pay your bills and feed your family. One good job should be enough. At a good job, you shouldn’t have to worry about your safety at work. At a good job, you shouldn’t have to go into debt for a diploma that promises a decent paycheck. It’s pretty simple: A good job allows people the freedom to build the life you want.”

She spoke for about 20 minutes, highlighting what she and President Biden have accomplished in the first 90 days in office, why the plan is critical to creating an economy that works for all Americans, and laid out a vision for how the plan invests in creating good jobs. She also referenced clean water infrastructure and investments into high-speed broadband coverage.  

Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) applauded the plan and said that good paying jobs are something that will boost the state’s economy.

“A once-in-a-century crisis calls for once-in-a-century ideas, and that’s what Vice President Harris spoke about today,” said Congresswoman Adams. “However, the Vice President talked about something more fundamental than that - she talked about the importance of a good job. I agree with her - one good job should be enough. The American people deserve the freedom of a good job that gives them the chance to build the life they want. We can’t go back to the way things were before - we have to make sure that we’re not only creating jobs, but creating good jobs that pay fair wages. This plan does that.” 

Harris also participated in a walking tour of the Thomas Built Buses (TBB) manufacturing plant in High Point, to drive the message that the American Jobs Plan (AJP) would provide $20 billion to electrify school buses, creating well-paying jobs like the ones at the plant. 

Thomas Built Buses was founded in 1972 and has recently shifted to emphasizing buses that operate on alternative fuel sources. According to the White House, the $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan invests $174 billion to create well-paying jobs electrifying vehicles and invests $20 billion in electric school buses, to put the nation on a path to 100 percent electric school buses. 

When she served as a senator, Harris introduced the Clean School Bus Act to assist school districts in replacing diesel school buses with electric buses.

Harris noted that her trip to Greensboro wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to The International Civil Rights Center & Museum. She made that her third and final tour stop and took time to sit and reflect at the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter– in the exact spot Rosa Parks sat in when she visited years ago. 

LaTonya Wiley, museum tour guide, facilitated the vice president’s quick tour, accompanied by, Melvin Skip Alston, Guilford County Commissioner and museum co-founder; Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman, president of the N.C. NAACP; and John Swaine, museum director. 

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VP Harris sits at the F.W. Woolworth lunch counter at the ICRCM. L-R: LaTonya Wiley, Melvin Skip Alston, Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman and John Swaine.

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Photos Courtesy Media Pool Photographer Woody Marshall

Vice President Harris tours Thomas Built Buses in High Point. The company manufactures electric buses which helps reduce environment emissions.

In side bar

North Carolina’s Infrastructure Needs

Source: American Society of Engineers/ Rep. Alma Adams’ Office 

• 14 percent of roads (over 3,116 miles of N.C. highway) are in poor condition and approximately 1,711 bridges are structurally deficient and in need of repair.

• 15 percent of trains and other transit vehicles in the state are past their useful life.

• 6.5 percent of N.C. households are without access to broadband.

• 632,000 renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent due to affordable housing shortages.

• $16.8 billion in modernization spending to ensure safe drinking water

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Vice President
Harris talks jobs

‘Infrastructure is whatever gets you to where you need to go’

By Afrique I. Kilimanjaro
Peacemaker Editor

The Biden American Jobs Plan is about more than building the typical infrastructure of roads, bridges and public transit. According to Vice President Kamala Harris, it’s about reimagining how to improve the lives of Americans. Harris traveled to Guilford County to promote the American Jobs Plan at Guilford Technical Community College’s Jamestown campus. The reimagining of the future of infrastructure involves the creation of highly skilled technical jobs and education. Included in the plan are provisions to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and minority serving institutions (MSIs); invest in research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and training; and build a caregiving infrastructure.

In an exclusive interview with the Carolina Peacemaker, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris described infrastructure as whatever gets you to where you need to go.” 

To do infrastructure, Harris said, “That’s about pipe fitters and plumbers and electricians and the building trades — all of those folks who have the skills that will actually allow us to build up.” 

She said it’s important for us to invest in strengthening our infrastructure and competitiveness by creating the good-paying, union jobs of the future.

The American Jobs Plan seeks to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and economy utilizing the latest technical skills to train American workers for the 21st Century. And according to Harris, “The Biden Administration will make sure that the nation’s HBCUs and minority-serving institutions are not overlooked.”

The American Jobs Plan includes $20 billion to upgrade research infrastructure and laboratories at HBCUs and MSIs and $10 billion for investments in research and development (R&D) on those campuses.

“We want to make sure that they [HBCUs] continue to be competitive because, of course they are producing leaders in every field we can imagine.”   

Vice President Harris, who is the first woman to be elected to the second highest office in the land, pointed out that the climate crisis has been a key component of how the American Jobs Plan has been designed. She addressed the dire need to fix the nation’s water infrastructure in drought-stricken communities across the nation. “We need to deal with the fact that historically, wars have been fought over oil. In a short minute of time, they’re going to be fought over water.” She said the U.S. needs infrastructure that allows for the capture and storage of water. “It is a vital resource that we cannot take for granted.”

The jobs plan will also invest $400 billion in the nation’s care economy by expanding access to quality, affordable home or community-based caregiving for aging populations and people with disabilities. The plan invests in caregivers, who are disproportionately women of color, and addresses racial disparities in access to home and community-based care. Harris said the plan “will make sure caregivers have all of the benefits in the workplace that come with important work. And if you need to go to work, part of the infrastructure you need is that you have the caretaking of your family members that otherwise you would be taking care of.” Harris was clear that caregiving must be affordable for families. 

When asked about senior care or childcare provisions for people who may work nights or on weekends Harris said, “In the care economy, we want to build it up in such a way that people who work during hours that are not nine to five also have access to childcare and to home care.”

Now, the tough part, getting the bill through Congress, specifically the U.S. Senate; The American Jobs Plan will cost nearly $2 trillion over eight years. The Biden Administration has pointed out that this once in a lifetime plan will benefits thousands of Americans and accounts for a mere one percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

The Carolina Peacemaker is a founding member of the N.C. Black Publishers Association (NCBPA).

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Courtesy Media Pool Photographer Woody Marshall

Vice President Kamala Harris toured Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) in Jamestown to promote the Biden Administration’s plans to bring the nation’s infrastructure into the 21st century and thus create thousands of good paying U.S. jobs.

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Photos by Ivan Saul Cutler/ Carolina Peacemaker

Vice President Kamala Harris and Carolina Peacemaker (Greensboro, N.C.) editor Afrique I. Kilimanjaro abide by social distancing protocols and greet each other with a familial elbow tap. Harris participated in an exclusive interview with the Peacemaker at GTCC to discuss the American Jobs Plan. 

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Practicing social distancing protocols, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris discusses the state of the nation’s infrastructure and the American Jobs Plan in an exclusive interview with Afrique Kilimanjaro, editor of the Carolina Peacemaker. The Vice President traveled to Greensboro, N.C. on April 19, 2021.

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In an exclusive interview with the Carolina Peacemaker (Greensboro, N.C.), Vice President Kamala Harris discusses the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan.

In side bar

The American Jobs Plan will:

• Invest in higher education to ensure communities of color can excel in jobs in the technologies of the future.

• Invest $20 billion in upgrading research infrastructure and laboratories at HBCUs and MSIs. 

• Create a new national lab focused on climate and affiliated with an HBCU. 

• Invest $10 billion in research and development at HBCUs and MSIs 

• Deliver affordable housing to communities of color burdened by the affordable housing crisis.

• Invest $213 billion to produce, preserve and retrofit affordable places to live.

• Mitigate exclusionary zoning policies that entrench residential segregation.

• Invest $400 billion towards expanding access to quality, affordable home and community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities. 

• Invest in caregivers, who are disproportionately women of color. 

• Address racial disparities in access to home and community-based care. 

• Mitigate exclusionary zoning policies that entrench residential segregation.

Source: The American Jobs Plan

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