3rd District Candidate Unveils Green-jobs Plan
LOWELL -- Describing it as a way to address climate change while simultaneously strengthening the local economy, 3rd Congressional District candidate Rufus Gifford released his plan to bring thousands of green jobs to the area.
Most of Gifford’s suggestions come at the intersection of renewable energy sources and the manufacturing required to build such an infrastructure.
“The layperson might just think this is a great opportunity to save the climate,” Gifford said. “That’s part of it, but it’s really about the economy in the large part.”
Gifford, who spent four years as the U.S. ambassador to Denmark, described his experience in that country, where about 40 percent of energy is generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind.
From mills in Lowell to factories in Fitchburg, the 3rd District has a long history with manufacturing. Gifford said he believes there is ample opportunity for the area to produce the kinds of technologies that will help the country move away from fossil fuels. Doing so would in turn create “the right kinds of” high-paying jobs, he said.
“This is an opportunity for the economy, a real opportunity for growth in Massachusetts and it’s values-based growth,” Gifford said. “That’s the kind of stuff I want to be focusing on as congressman and something I really want to be doubling down on.”
Although Gifford has taken stances on several issues, his green jobs plan is the first major policy proposal from his campaign. The two-page document has four main sections: workforce development, tax incentives, coalition building and funding for Department of Energy programs.
Gifford suggested expanding apprenticeship and job training programs to help bring employees up to speed, something he would support with federal grant funding. His plan also calls for companies to be encouraged to invest in clean energy and green jobs through tax incentives at the federal, state and local level.
“Financial incentives are an important element of the effort to generate growth in the clean
energy sector and create jobs,” Gifford’s plan states. “Companies can and should be incentivized to invest in clean energy and create green jobs -- it’s good for the community, it’s good for the environment, and it should be good for the bottom line.”
On the topic of dollars, Gifford also said he would “aggressively stand up” for Department of Energy programs that support renewable energy start-ups.
Another major theme of Gifford’s proposal was his hope of bringing together diverse parties, including environmental activists, labor unions and representatives from all levels of government. His plan called for regular forums and conferences on the state of clean energy in the 3rd District.
“I’ve talked to climate intellectuals, I’ve talked to people at the IBEW, I’ve talked to members of the local chambers of commerce, I’ve talked to educators, all of whom have to be brought in,” Gifford said. “The power of a congressman is the power to bring people together, the power to convene.”
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