D.C. trip review

Frank Knapp with Danny Herrera, Media Matters

My trip to D.C. this week was very successful. I participated in a Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference panel discussion sponsored by the American Sustainable Business Council on small business and good jobs, met my friends at Media Matters, and talked about the threat of corporate money in campaigns with Common Cause folks.
 I also discussed the need to promote programs to help our country’s small manufacturers with staff from the offices of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown and South Carolina Representatives Tim Scott, Jeff Duncan and Trey Gowdy.

Wednesday afternoon I joined numerous other members of the American Sustainable Business Council for an extended meeting at the U.S. Department of Labor with Secretary Hilda Solis.


Frank with Mary Boyle (L) and Eileen Toback (R) of Common Cause

My brief comments to Secretary Solis emphasized that need to invigorate our domestic manufacturing if we want to create the jobs we need. I pointed out that 90% of manufacturers in South Carolina have fewer than 100 employees and 84% have less than 50 workers making manufacturing a small business sector in our state as it probably is in the rest of the country. I stressed the need to stop giving tax incentives for offshoring jobs and for the creation of a national manufacturing policy that includes strengthening the Manufacturing Extension Partnership program and other efforts to jumpstart our manufacturing sector.

Below is a blog about this meeting from the co-founder of the American Sustainable Business Council and Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender:

The Bright Side of Government
February 9, 2011

Today for close to one and a half hours the Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis sat patiently, deeply engaged as she listened to the challenges and opportunities small business faces in a country dominated by the influence of large multinational corporations. These small companies believe in livable wages, health care for all, and reversing the concentration of wealth that threatens to tear our society apart.

Almost 20 of us sat around the table representing the 65,000 companies that are part of the American Sustainable Business Council, businesses that are all committed to a just, equitable and sustainable economy. We joined by no fewer than six representatives of Secretary Solis’s senior staff. As the conversation circled around the table the Secretary made notes, asked questions, recommended opportunities for her staff to follow-up on an idea or seek more information.

The Secretary has personally surmounted many obstacles, perhaps more than anyone else in the room. A four-term congresswoman, she became the first Hispanic woman to serve as a cabinet member. Her mother worked in a toy factory, her father in a battery recycling plant, where he contracted lead poisoning.

The third of seven children, she grew up in a modest home near a giant landfill just east of Los Angeles.

Today’s dialogue helped renew my faith in government. I saw first hand deeply passionate and caring people trying desperately to do the right thing. Sometimes what’s missing from the process is us. Our voices of support embolden their conviction. In a political process dominated by money, lobbyists, and self-serving interest groups the door was open for people who perhaps hadn’t fully realized how essential that are to the process of governance.

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