With millions of Californians out of work, there’s no question jobs are on the minds of voters as we enter the final weeks ahead of Election Day. What voters may not know is that the two candidates for Governor have very different views on jobs, and whether or not Californians get back to work hangs in the balance depending on the outcome of this election.
Two unemployed ironworkers have set out on a 400-mile trek to change that.
Today in Anaheim, Larry Greenhagen and Robert Escalera will kick off the “Good Jobs Express,” a five-city tour up the heart of California to rally support for high-speed rail and the half million jobs it would create. Over the next few days, workers, elected officials, union leaders, environmentalists and community allies in five cities along the high-speed rail route will rally for jobs and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, who has promised to make building high-speed rail and putting people back to work his priority as Governor.
Brown’s support of high-speed rail is in stark contrast to Meg Whitman’s position. She’s said she’ll kill high-speed rail if she’s elected. The billionaire CEO is alarmingly out of touch with the suffering and hardship so many workers like Larry and Robert are going through because of unemployment. Larry and Robert will close the tour at Whitman’s high-dollar fundraiser in Sacramento, where the two will confront her on her proposal to kill high-speed rail and the jobs it would create.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
With one in eight people out of work, California desperately needs the economic spark high-speed rail would provide. When it comes to jobs, we need real leadership. Jerry Brown will build high-speed rail, put people back to work and get our economy moving. Whitman’s opposition to high-speed rail, the good jobs it will create, and the lasting benefits it will have for our economies and communities are no surprise from a billionaire CEO who is out of touch with what working families are going through now.
The “Good Jobs Express” tour will follow the path of California’s future high-speed rail system with events in Anaheim, Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto and Sacramento, communities which are counting on the jobs and economic stimulus of the nation’s first high-speed rail system to help their local economies get back on track.
Construction and operation of the rail system is projected to create 160,000 construction jobs and as many as 450,000 permanent jobs statewide. Additionally, high-speed rail would make California businesses more competitive by speeding the movement of goods and people throughout the state, enabling businesses to attract workers, and propelling California tourism.
Voters have already approved a measure to pay for high speed rail with Proposition 1A in 2008, and the state has already received more than $2 billion from the federal government to build the rail, demonstrating how disingenuous Whitman is with her claims that California can’t afford the rail system. While Whitman talks of downsizing public sector jobs and cutting services families count on, she’s also touting huge tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, which would bleed the state of billions of dollars every year. Whitman seems perfectly content with giving her millionaire friends tax breaks, but when it comes to creating jobs for Californians, she says ‘No way.”
Unemployment is devastating. When I heard that Meg Whitman wanted to kill high-speed rail and the jobs that would put me and so many others back to work, I was appalled. She clearly doesn’t know the first thing about the heavy toll unemployment takes on our families and communities.
So come on out and join the tour. Show your support for Jerry Brown’s plan to put Larry, Robert and hundreds of thousands of back to work.
“Good Jobs Express” Tour Schedule:
§ Anaheim, CA
10:00am, Amtrak Katella Station, 2150 E. Katella Avenue
§ Bakersfield, CA
3:30pm, Liberty Bell, 1415 Truxtum Avenue (at Chester)
§ Fresno, CA
10:00am, 2650 Tulare Street (Corner of Tulare and Santa Fe)
§ Modesto, CA
3:00pm, Graceada Park, 401 Needham Street (at Needham & Sycamore)
§ Sacramento, CA
11:00am, Federal Building, 5th & I St.
6:00pm, Sheraton Grande, 1230 J Street — Whitman Fundraiser Demonstration