Obama surrogate Sebelius retails economic plan at GTCC

by Jordan Green

Hammering on a Democratic theme, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius told students and faculty at GTCC’s east Greensboro campus on April 11 that the next president needs to shift resources from reconstruction in Iraq to infrastructure, technological development and other public works projects in the United States.

Sebelius endorsed Barack Obama for president back in January, and after she spoke in the atrium of the campus’ construction trades building, campaign workers distributed copies of the candidate’s economic policy plan published in a blue, staple-bound volume. The Kansas governor spent two days visiting technical community colleges in North Carolina last week. She said she has visited seven or eight states on Obama’s behalf.

Two aspects of the plan touted by Sebelius were a provision to eliminate income taxes for senior citizens earning less than $50,000 per year and to create two separate $10-billion funds to assist homeowners facing foreclosure by providing counseling and refinance home mortgages. According to the plan, increased penalties on lenders who defrauded borrowers would only partially pay for one of the funds.

“The money spent on infrastructure in Iraq needs to be spent in the United States, whether it be on education or healthcare or other needs,” Sebelius said. “One of the ways that can be done is to look at what is happening or not happening with America’s infrastructure. We’ve seen levees collapsing in New Orleans when they couldn’t withstand the force of the hurricane. We’ve seen that bridge collapsing in Minneapolis. We need light rail around the country. We need a serious infrastructure upgrade, and we need green jobs that take a lot of skills.”

Sebelius said Obama’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq in 2002 when many Democrats, including Sen. Hillary Clinton, lined up in support of it, was only one reason she decided to endorse in the race.

“I have a threshold question of judgment,” she said in a private interview after her talk, adding, “Obama has the capacity of bringing together Republicans, Democrats and independents. I’ve seen it in my state. You now have fifteen Democratic governors in states that went for Bush endorsing Obama.”