Academics and Research

Economy to lead Obama’s priorities, Groff and others predict

Dealing with the economic recovery could slow down the rest of President-elect Barack Obama’s agenda, a group of African-American political leaders predicted last week.

“Issues like health care could be put on the back burner while the new president tries to push through his economic stimulus package,” said Peter Groff, president of the Colorado Senate and executive director of DU’s Center for African-American Policy (CAAP).

Groff (JD ’92) and other black leaders and scholars gathered Dec. 10 at the National Press Club to predict the priorities of the incoming Obama administration. The Washington, D.C., event was hosted by CAAP, a Web site led by Groff and dedicated to black policy and politics.

They predicted that Obama would move swiftly to push through an economic stimulus package that would focus on “shovel-ready” infrastructure projects, including funds for state road and bridge projects; money to repair school buildings and make them more energy efficient; and support for the electric grids and pipeline projects necessary to develop a new energy economy.

Groff said the proposed stimulus package could mean jobs for African-Americans and low-income groups in urban areas if the projects are sustainable and lead to economic growth for inner cities.

Colorado will be crafting its own stimulus package, Groff said, as soon as it convenes in January. Groff heads the State Senate, and he and new state House Speaker Terrance Carroll (JD ’05) have created a select committee on economic growth to oversee the legislature’s efforts to create jobs for Colorado, which has so far experienced less of an economic downturn than other states.

“We have to come up with something,” Groff said. “We aren’t immune from what’s happening in the rest of the nation.”

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