Feeling the cool breeze down my neck, I pulled the hood from my sweater over my head.  I forgot how cold a winter night could be in Florida.  My watch confirmed the midnight hour; it would be another nine until I achieved my objective.  At the height of morning commute, I received two tickets enclosed by a golden sheet of paper.  Feeling as if I was selected to see Mr. Wonka, I rushed home to share my news; I was going to see the President of the United States. 

President Obama planed a town hall meeting in Ft. Myers, Florida – a county with the highest foreclosure rates in the nation.  In an intimate setting, the President connected with his countrymen. Speaking on the stimulus package, he answered our questions concerning; unemployment, foreclosures, the credit crunch, and much more.  When asked questions on the environment, Obama had much to say.   “We need to lessen our dependence of foreign oil,” said Obama. “ To do that, we are going to double our alternative energy.”  In the stimulus package it calls for the $2.5 billion in funding for the development of alternative energy, including solar, wind, and geothermal. It also provides for more than $17 billion in tax credits for renewable energy production and weatherizing homes. Obama envisions states like Florida, developing enough alternative energy to not only power the state, but also export the excess energy to surrounding states. Using the newly built smart grid system, which is included in the stimulus, Obama said the energy would be sold and then transported through an electric grid that connects the nation. Not only will it lessen our dependence on oil, but it will also create thousands of jobs from manual laborers to skilled technicians for the development of such an infrastructure. Beyond the means to power ourselves, he also discussed how we should transport ourselves.

President Obama speaks to citizens in a town hall meeting in Ft. Myers, Florida

President Obama speaks to citizens in a town hall meeting in Ft. Myers, Florida

 

 

Having said the U.S. was given a grade D on it’s infrastructure, President Obama compared our transportation system to that of China, a country with 1.3 billion people. Having state of the art airports and high-speed rails, China surpasses the United Statesin its capabilities to transport a population 400% larger than that of the United States. “The days of building sprawl forever, those days are over,” says Obama. “This is America, we have always had the best infrastructure.” He spoke of investing in mass transit and high-speed rails- funding both of them properly. Living in a car dependent state, that is a revolutionary thought.

Sitting in a room of roughly 2,000 people, it felt as if a principal was speaking to his students, rather than a leader speaking to free men. Now that the Senate has passed it’s stimulus bill, both chambers must find a common ground invorder for the President to sign. In a motion that reassembles the “New Deal” of FDR, this stimulus package will hopefully be the nectar that brings new life.

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