Tuesday, March 11, 2008



Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dr. Scott Myers-Lipton (510) 508-5382, smlipton@sjsu.edu
Arianna Smith (916) 319-2022, Arianna.Smith@asm.ca.gov;
Office of Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber

Students, Gulf Coast, Victorious in Vote

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Yesterday, the California State Senate passed Assembly Joint Resolution 22 on a 24-11 vote. AJR 22 urges California Congress members and the President to support the passage of House Resolution 4048: The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act. HR 4048 is based on the work of the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project (GCCWP), a movement begun by college students and faculty whose goal is to create civic work jobs and rebuild communities in the Gulf Coast region.

The Project was developed by students and faculty at San Jose State University, and support of the movement has now spread to over 40 colleges around the country. Today's vote represents a major victory for the students and faculty who been working for the past year to pass AJR 22. On the passage of AJR 22, Harold Bell, an SJSU senior involved with the GCCWP noted, "I think this is a sign that people are coming around to our vision of resurrecting the Gulf Coast. This California resolution is a wake-up call to the members of Congress that there is still a crisis in the Gulf Coast, and HR 4048 is one of the solutions."

AJR 22 was introduced in May 2007 by Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Sally Lieber after being inspired by the students involved in the GCCWP. The resolution passed the Assembly in September 2007. "Regardless of where we live, we have an obligation to call for action in the Gulf Coast region," said Lieber. "As Californians, we are also vulnerable to a variety of natural disasters, and we would not want to endure the kind of dismal federal response that the Gulf Coast residents received."

On November 1, HR 4048 was introduced into Congress by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), with original co-sponsorship from Reps. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) and Gene Taylor (D-MS). This legislation, which is also based on the work of college students, will establish a federal authority to coordinate recovery projects, rebuild key infrastructure, and revitalize the region's workforce by training and hiring 100,000 civic workers. The bill is currently in the House Education and Labor Committee, which is chaired by Rep. George Miller (D-CA).

The GCCWP estimates that the cost for HR 4048 would be between $4-10 billion a year, 80% of which would go straight to the civic workers. At the same time, $8 billion in unobligated funds from the FEMA's Disaster Recovery Fund remain unspent, as well as $20 billion in Gulf Coast rebuilding federal appropriations; both of these funding sources could be used to fund HR 4048.

California students and faculty have now partnered with regional partners (LA ACORN, All Congregations Together [ACT of New Orleans], Equity and Inclusion Campaign), as well as national partners (ColorofChange.org, RFK Human Rights Center, and Student Hurricane Network) to pass HR 4048.

Students from San Jose State University, Stanford, UC Berkeley, CSU Monterey Bay, and San Diego State University will be following up in the next month with the members of California's 53-member Congressional delegation asking that they co-sponsor HR 4048.

Chris Hauck, an SJSU senior involved in the project stated that, "The Gulf Coast Civic Works Act is not only a solution for the people and infrastructure of the Gulf Coast, but is also a step forward in an ongoing fight for equality and human rights. The GCCWA can be used as not only a solution for the Gulf Coast, but also a pilot project to create jobs and infrastructure solutions nationwide."

The complete text of AJR 22 can be found here.

The complete text of HR 4048 can be viewed here.

More information about the Gulf Coast Civic Works Project can be located here.



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