Congressman Mel Watt brings message of optimism to Uptown Democrats
Posted on 31 Jan 2011 by Jenifer Daniels
The Uptown Democratic Forum is marking its ten year anniversary celebrating the new year with optimism. Invited speaker, Congressman Mel Watt, brought a message chocked with facts and clarity to the current landscape in DC and in America.
Present at Friday’s lunch meeting were Mayor Anthony Foxx, City of Charlotte, Pat Cotham, organizer of Uptown Dems, Ann Newman, former candidate for NC House 103, and Joel Ford, Meck County Dem Party chair, as well as over 75 constituents from the region.
Highlights from Friday’s event
America’s economic health
- “I’m not pessimistic…”
- refers to Observer article ‘Gold rush’ mania blamed for nation’s financial crisis’
about political landscape
- it will take 25 seats to win back majority in the House of Representatives
- 8 newly elected Republicans are surrounded in ethics controversies
- 60+ seats won by Republicans in 2010 were won by President Obama in 2008
- big drop in voter turnout from 08′ to 10′
on jobs, economy
- Under Democratic leadership, more jobs were created in 2010 than entire Bush presidency
- since we passed the stimulus, 1.6 million jobs were created; 200K in health care sector
- private employers added more than 1.3M jobs in 2010
- 9 out of 10 economists are optimistic about economic growth; expect 3.2% to 3.4% each quarter
- Wall Street Journal article references a fourth-quarter poll of 84 companies by the National Association for Business Economics found 42% expected to increase jobs in the next six months
- Bloomberg News article references a survey stating that U.S. companies’ employment outlook improved to a 12-year high this quarter after sales strengthened and economic growth picked up
- “We (leadership) are focusing on jobs and employment.”
- DC still has unspent stimulus monies that will continue to help roll out new infrastructure projects (e.g. Yadkin River Bridge)
- Dems lost a lot of state seats
- state and local economies are in a mess economically
- “If people didn’t have jobs, they’d have to find a way to survive. We are all in this together.”
questions from the audience
- (I am) really concerned about redistricting…what can we do to make sure it is a fair process? A. Watt implores us to get involved in the process.
- We were out-hustled & out-messages…will anything be done, on a national level, to change that in 2012? A. Watt says that self preservation is key and the biggest pulpit is that of the President.
- How can we win the culture wars? (e.g. abortion, health care disparities) A. Watt says that we have to involve ourselves in substantives debates.
- What is Washington doing about continued regulation of the mortgage industry? the gap is widening between the have and have nots. A. Watt says that he doesn’t have the answers on that but expects to see movement in the area soon.
- What can we see from Washington to ensure education is well-funded and reformed? A. Watt notes that only 7cents of every Federal dollar is spent on education)