What follows is a transcription of the Jobs First Agenda program presented on September 7, 2017 by WALS President Patrick Cassidy.
Click here to listen to a podcast of the same program.
“My dad was a hard working coal miner as a young man, and a hard working steel worker for most of his life, and I’m sorry, but I will never believe what I heard from the titans of industry in my early years of practicing law, as to who was responsible for the loss of the steel industry, was my father.” -Pat Cassidy
Thank you all for coming tonight.
I know this is not great timing. Seven o’clock on a Thursday evening. But I appreciate your response. This is really the kickoff of a discussion series but I’m a little sorry to say that my presentation tonight will largely be in a lecture format, because I don’t know how to introduce this idea of the jobs first agenda without doing it this way. And those of you who know me know that my other career choice, up that road I did not go down, was a desire to be a philosophy professor. And so I still feel I’m somewhat of a frustrated old philosopher at heart. And I’m not going to read to you. But I do have to follow my notes closely because, unlike some other people you might see on TV who are able to speak without teleprompters, I don’t want to get into that kind of trouble. And so I have to refer to my notes from time to time.
But I do want to leave a little time at the end for some questions comments and I promise, along with our executive director Sean Duffy, that the rest of the series will not be in a lecture format, it will be more of a discussion group with the panelists. One of the moderators representing WALS will introduce the panelists and briefly pose some questions and then we’ll ask the panelists and you know we want input from the community. And we hope you’ll stay with us throughout the series or at least attend as many as you can because we want and need your feedback.
The jobs first agenda is an experimental idea we have been studying at our foundation for a number of years and are still studying. We want to know if it can work. If it can help solve or lessen the myriad problems and maybe even some crises facing our community and our nation today. And I don’t expect everyone to agree with what we are calling a Jobs First Agenda. That’s OK too. But we want to hear from you as we go along in this series, especially if you think our ideas are based on observed and experienced facts and not just opinions. So you may have some alternatives to our ideas that might be either incorporated in the agenda or even cause us to scrap it in favor of your ideas. And we want our discussions to be engaged in in a civil manner, which I know all of you people will do. And we do want to set one standard, and that is, I will quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan, our late great senator from New York, who said that, and you’ve heard this, I’m sure, before: “everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts.” So we hope to have a discussion based on facts, not political reasons, not political ideology, either from the left or the right, because we want this to be a non-partisan thing. We think that we can incorporate the best ideas from the left and from the right, and still come up with a workable solution — really a revolutionary solution–revolutionary, but a quiet revolution, one without guns, one without discord necessarily pitting people against each other. In any event the ideas underpinning our jobs first agenda have been plucked and borrowed from many sources: people — historical personages, institutions. Read more