Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Today on Middle Class Jumpstart in San Francisco
Contact: Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Mayor Ed Lee, Director of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Ed Reiskin and Executive Director of SF Made Kate Sofis held a press conference today at the site of the future Yerba Buena/Moscone Station of the Central Subway on House Democrats’ Middle Class Jumpstart agenda. Below are the Leader’s opening and closing remarks:
Leader Pelosi’s Opening Remarks:
“Good morning everyone. This is a pretty thrilling day for us, because it’s another milestone in the progress of connecting the great city of San Francisco from one end to the other. It’s about economic development; it’s about clean environment; it’s about building consensus. And I’m sure the Mayor will agree – having served as Mayor, but before that as City Administrator – that it took years of consensus building to get to this point of Third Street Rail and Central Subway, thousands of hours of volunteers coming together to make their point of view known.
“I think we’ve been here almost five presidents on the totality of this project, but making progress again every step of the way. All along, I would say to whoever we were appealing to: our hopes are riding on the Third Street Rail and our hopes are riding on the Central Subway for all that we want to do for our city, to be a model to the country for economic development, while we again improve the quality of life, increase commerce, and create good paying jobs for many people.
“Today is a sad day for many of us because of the loss of Robin Williams. And I was thinking, coming over, Mayor, that we were together in 2012 with Ray LaHood for another phase of this. We were all together with Ray LaHood, the Secretary of Transportation, representing the President. And while we were listening attentively to each other’s speeches, we were also on our iPhones watching the last of the playoff games – I mean the last of the games that would determine who would be in the playoffs – and while we were celebrating the construction, we were cheering the victory of the Giants that day to go on to the World Series.
“And Robin Williams, back to him, was a great Giants fan. My daughter, Christine, was reminding me this morning that after 9/11 in 2001, that was really, by and large, the first time the tradition of singing ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th Inning Stretch took place – some may have done it other times, but as a tradition across our country. Robin Williams was a great Giants fan, and in 2001 – and I didn’t know he was a singer, I guess – but in 2001, he sang ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th Inning Stretch. So the world has lost a genius. San Francisco has lost a loyal friend. And we all mourn that loss, but take joy in the contributions to life and happiness that he made.
“A few weeks ago, on the steps of the Capitol, House Democrats launched our Middle Class Jumpstart as an initiative to again create good paying jobs here in our country, to reward work, to recognize that innovation and entrepreneurship begins in the classroom, to make college affordable and early childhood education – a strong start for children on that path. And in some ways the heart of the matter: ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds’ – our version of ‘women-omics’ to grow our economy by increasing the role of women in it.
“This week, each week, we’re taking a piece of it. This week is focused on the ‘Make It In America’ piece. ‘Make it in America,’ where we say we want American-made, reward companies that invest in job creation, good paying jobs here in America, by removing tax credits to send jobs overseas – which is what the law is now. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the law, and we want to overturn it. With the savings we get there, we want to invest in building America – building the infrastructure, and that means roads, bridges, certainly mass transit, water supply, broadband, the infrastructure of the future. So this is the jobs week, the pillar that we’re emphasizing all over the country. What better place to start than here, where so much of this innovation has begun?
“It has combined what we talked about earlier: under the Mayor’s leadership, great consensus building over time, with the community involvement. I’ve always said to the city: I want to give you every option that you want, but if we allocate the resources, we need dirt to fly, we don’t need court cases. So this consensus building over time has been very central to our success. And of course, the Recovery Act that President Obama took the lead on made an essential difference in our being able to get hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, nearly a billion dollars for the completion of this project now – while it started mostly with local and state funding, under the leadership of so many leaders you see here. So I’m honored to be with the Mayor to put into perspective, how important this Jumpstart for the Middle Class is, and for how important building infrastructure is to that Jumpstart.
“Right now, there is a stalling of the middle class, because there is a stalling of these kinds of initiatives. We want to remove that. We want it to be non-partisan, we want it to be bipartisan – whatever it takes – because we know that the American people overwhelmingly support initiatives that improve the qualities of their lives, promote commerce, get their product to and from market, their employees to and from work and to home, and to again protect the environment as we do so, as we create jobs.
“But we have to build consensus to do that, so I salute the people of San Francisco and the Bay Area for the role that they have played over the years, really decades, to make many of the projects that are emerging now project. Third Street Rail connecting Vis Valley, Bayview/Hunter’s Point with Chinatown, a Transbay Terminal endless in its interconnections, the Presidio Parkway – most of these longtime in the planning, and consensus building, many of them possible because of President Obama’s recognition that building the infrastructure of America is essential to growing our economy.
“And with that I’m pleased to yield this podium to – by the way, did I introduce Thomas and Paul? They are – construction is their game. They know about machinery that I don’t know about. But they’re teaching me, and they very much wanted to see how it was all going. Thomas and Paul, my grandchildren from New York – they’ve ridden on the subway, so they wanted to see how one was built here in California. They are my special VIPs today.
“Now it’s my pleasure and honor to yield to the distinguished Mayor of San Francisco. As I have said, in his role as Mayor and before that as Chief Administrative Officer, he knows how to get the job done. This is an operational Mayor. And it’s no mystery as to how when he became Mayor, he continued the work, the great work of previous mayors. But he was effective from the start because he was getting the job done working with those mayors before. So thank you, Mayor, for honoring us with your leadership, with your presence here today. I yield to the distinguished Mayor of San Francisco.”
Leader Pelosi’s Closing Remarks:
“Thank you very much, Kate. Kate, congratulations to you on the success of San Francisco Made. When we first came together, we were talking about women making brownies, candies, children’s clothes. Now they’re building Central Subways and non-traditional businesses for women, and it’s just remarkable. And under Mayor Gavin Newsom’s leadership, the ‘Jobs Now’ initiative was so successful and took up many, many, many of the jobs for California because we were so in the lead. The Mayor continued that, of course. And what was important about it is that you had mentoring, and we would go to the centers where kids and young people were being mentored. We would see them in the workplace where they were hired, and you would see the satisfaction of their employer. Every step of the way it was a big success. Because we don’t want to leave anyone behind.
“I want to pay tribute to our friends in labor. Mike, thank you over and over again for your support of all of this. Central – to borrow a word – central to much of this is raising the minimum wage, and San Francisco has been on the forefront of that, and then the state of California as well. On the ballot, we have that initiative to raise the minimum wage. That is important because we want to value work as we attract people and draw them in, train them. We want them to be able to have a decent wage. But also, it’s essential to our economy because that money is spent almost immediately by people who are on the margin – spent immediately, injecting demand into the economy, creating jobs. So it’s one of the most important stimuli to the economy that you can name.
“It all comes together in this initiative; it all comes together on these projects. So we are very, very, excited about it, and San Francisco Made has been – the fastest growing part of our economy are women and minority owned businesses, and San Francisco again leads the way in that regard.
“Next week we will be talking and focusing on education, the week after that on Women’s Equality Day. We will be talking about ‘When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,’ but all of them are connected. And I just wanted to say because the Mayor mentioned Build America Bonds, and Ed did as well: the Build America Bonds initiative we had in place when the President took office. So many initiatives were started around that. It so happened at the time the interest rates were low, so municipalities and states were able to reap enormous benefits. They have expired. Part of our agenda is to renew the Build America Bonds, so that we can take advantage of those opportunities to build the infrastructure of America.
“So I thank the people of San Francisco for their involvement all over time individually, officially through boards, commissions, and of course through the Mayor’s office. But this has been public-private partnership; it’s been grassroots; it’s been labor, and business, and management; and it’s been a collaborative effort. And that’s what makes it a success; and that’s what makes it a model for the nation. So, thank you San Francisco, once again.”
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