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The Council on Competitiveness Issues a Challenge for the 44th President: Put energy policy first [National Press Club]

Photo by John Metelsky, NPC

by Hope Katz Gibbs
National Press Club luncheon
Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008
Photo by John Metelsky

The next president of the United States must put the full of weight of his office behind an energy plan, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson said at an NPC luncheon Tuesday.

“The priorities and legacy of a new administration are often defined and judged by the actions that are taken within its first 100 days,” said Jackson, a MIT-trained physicist and current president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, who is the vice chairman of the Competitiveness Council — a group of corporate CEOs, university presidents, and labor leaders committed to enhancing U.S. competitiveness in the global economy through the creation of high-value economic activity.

“The future economic competitiveness, national security, and prosperity of our nation will be determined by how we obtain and use energy, protect our environment, and address global climate change,” she said.

She went on to explain that America is caught as never before in a double grip: the need for national and global energy security, and legitimate alarm over our planet’s climate change.

“Issues that ensue from these twin realities—complex geopolitical and geostrategic challenges, unprecedented wealth transfer from one group of nations to another, the profusion of investment choices before us—require vision, careful analysis, coherent thinking, and finally, action,” Jackson explained.

As co-chairwoman of the Council’s Energy Security, Innovation & Sustainability Initiative—whose members include Caterpiller Inc.’s CEO James Owens and the national president of the AFL-CIO, Michael Langford—Jackson said her organization has put forth six priorities for the 44th president’s first 100 days:

“Energy security is the greatest challenge and greatest opportunity of our time,” Jackson concluded. “A national call to action will ignite our collective imagination, spark a new era of innovation, stimulate our economy, open new markets, unleash our national potential, and enhance our economic and national security. But, we must begin. The next president must send a clear signal—in the first 100 days—that will move us from rhetoric to reality.”

Hope Katz Gibbs is a National Press Club member and freelance writer in Northern Virginia. View this and other articles on the NPC’s blog.

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