Note: This is part of an ongoing series on my interview with Dan Kildee. To view the series in its entirety, click here.
Fairly early on in the interview I asked Dan to speak about sustainable energy. Specifically I was interested in how we go about making America a green country when there are so many regulatory and resource differences between communities. The example I gave him was that I had once tried to put up a wind turbine at my place, but it cost thousands of dollars to tie into my electric system and I couldn’t afford it. Additionally, my township Supervisor wasn’t even sure if it was legal for me to put the pole up in my yard.
Dan’s response had multiple layers, from making the systems more affordable to creating national standards for certain pieces of the industries. The rest would be up to the states and local communities to figure out.
I had a few other questions along the lines of “how do we” and Dan stayed on that theme of letting the locals figure out what works for them. The federal government can be supportive, but they have to figure out what works for them.
Big red flags pop up in my head.
“So are you saying that the states and local governments should be working out their own problems, and the federal government has a minor supportive role in this?”
Nope. Not what he was saying at all.
“Clearly the federal government has to be involved in our national interests. For example, education is a national interest. We should have one standard for the entire nation. Wherever you go to school in this country you should get the same opportunity for education as you would anywhere else. This is a national interest to produce educated people.”
“Trade policy and the new economy are national interests. We have states that have to compete with one another for jobs. States shouldn’t be competing with each other, they should be finding ways to work together in regional projects, like sustainable energy.”
Dan’s community work really shows through here. He is a firm believer that communities that are under water can help themselves and come up with long-term sustainable solutions, if they have a partner in the federal government.
I especially appreciated his comments on regional cooperation. How long has Michigan been competing with other states for jobs? As long as we compete with other states by lowering wages, we are in a race to the bottom. Indiana Republicans are pushing a Right to Work for Less law that Indiana Gov Mitch Daniels has promised to support: “Indiana gets dealt out of hundreds of new job opportunities because we have no right-to-work law.” Michigan Republicans are already using Indiana as an example to support their own RtWfL initiatives.
I wish this was on video because there was so much of this conversation that was just excellent. I know I’m not doing it justice.
Tomorrow: Education as a manufacturing policy
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