Jennifer M. Granholm, the first woman governor of Michigan, served two terms before joining the Biden administration as the second woman to lead the U.S. Department of Energy. In a recent interview with rolling out, she discussed the broad reach of infrastructure, how it disproportionately affects communities of color, and why Mother Nature is angry.
What is infrastructure and how important is it to the Black community?
Team Biden believes infrastructure is bigger than just roads and bridges. It includes everyone having access to high speed internet, in the 21st century that should be infrastructure. We want to make sure families do not have lead pipes leading into their homes or schools, so their kids aren’t subject to lead poisoning. [It also includes] the Care economy, by that I mean that right now individuals who earn less than $75,000 a year who have kids are getting a child tax credit.
Why is it important to pass the infrastructure bill?
I see this energy issue as being a jobs issue. The president has the goal of getting to 100% clean electricity by 2035. This means we have to make the stuff to reach that goal. Having been governor of Michigan during the time when the auto industry was in bankruptcy, I’m obsessed with how you create jobs in America in a global economy for our people. [Also] there is a disproportionate health impact for people of color to breathe in pollution. Researchers showed that air pollution disproportionately caused by White Americans’ consumption of goods and services [that] is disproportionately inhaled by Black and Latino Americans. African Americans on average breathe 56% more pollution than Whites do, even though Whites cause the problem.
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