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A plan to keep America 'first'

By Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins
the Grio

Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins blogs on the Grio about building the economy the United States needs now and for the future ahead of the President's State of the Union.

President Obama is presenting his fourth State of the Union address tonight, at the outset of a year that will culminate with a fiercely contested battle for his position. It may be the president's last opportunity to establish the agenda that America needs in order to be competitive over the long term -- while putting people to work immediately.

It is a moment for boldness -- a time at which the president can outline a plan of action that shifts America's focus to the future, a time during which America can regain its speed.

Our organization, Green For All, is committed to building a green economy robust enough to lift everyone out of poverty. The need for this has rarely been greater; low income communities and communities of color are seeing rates of unemployment exponentially higher than the rest of the country. Nearly one-in-five African-American men are unemployed - this alarming trend has barely budged for several years. It's a crisis, but an addressable one.

One way to put people back to work is to seize the obvious opportunity in front of us. Shifts in energy production and consumption, in resource use and re-use, provide massive economic opportunities. And so, we respectfully submit to the President the following course of action - it provides the best short and long-term strategy to maintain American economic leadership.

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