Vol. 6    No. 2
January 2
7, 2011

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000

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The Capital City Hues
PO Box 259712
Madison, WI 53725
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(608) 241-2000
Advertising: Claire G. Mendoza
       From time to time, I have to sit back and reflect on how blessed I am. This past Wednesday, I covered
the speech of President Barack Obama at Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, the first public appearance
by Obama after his well-received State of the Union speech. During the latter part of the Clinton
administration and for all of the Bush administration, as a journalist, I did not exist in their eyes. There were
no press releases or communiqués about the president’s views on things. Small press outlets were of no
consequence in the political scheme of things.
       But President Obama, with his grassroots perspective, changed all of that. The Hues regularly gets
press releases from the White House and offers of press credentials when President Obama is in
Wisconsin and surrounding environs. Now there are three tiers of the press: the National traveling press
along with the select large press organizations that act as the pool press who travel with the president for
the day, the large press outlets who get reserved space on the risers where the cameras are filming the
proceedings and then the small press outlets like The Hues, which must scurry about and find an opening
on the risers or on the perimeter. It pays to be observant because after I noticed that the national press did
not take their reserved space on the riser, I was happy to fill the void and was able to take photos in front of
President Obama.
       President Obama’s appearance at Orion Energy Systems, which manufactures renewable energy
products, reiterated the portions of his State of the Union speech about the need to transition to a green
economy. One of those in attendance was Governor Scott Walker. The policies and approaches of Obama
and Walker seem to be mirror opposites.
       While Obama has heralded the advantages of high speed rail as a way to reduce America’s
dependence on foreign oil, Governor Walker was so opposed to the use of public funds to build high speed
rail that his stand prompted outgoing Governor James Doyle to cancel Wisconsin’s $810 million high speed
rail project funded with federal stimulus funds. While President Obama would provide funding for
entrepreneurs like Neal Verfuerth of Orion to spur local job creation in the industrial sectors of the future,
Governor Walker would give carte blanche tax cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals in the hope that
they will use the funds to create jobs in Wisconsin and not build a bigger residence for themselves or
invest the funds in job creation overseas or in other states.
       I can’t help but feel that President Obama represents the future of America while Governor Walker
represents its past. In times of economic challenges and vulnerability, people tend to become more
conservative, to cling to the past in the light of an uncertain future. It is a natural instinct that a majority of
voters acted on when they swept Governor Walker and the Republicans into power in 2010. Wisconsin lost
a lot of its manufacturing base during the Great Recession — and a lot of it to other states and countries for
the past 30 years — and people clung to the past during that election.
       But President Obama in his State of the Union speech and his remarks at Orion painted a positive
vision of the future, which has been largely absent in the offerings of the Republicans. President Obama
sees the need for America and Wisconsin to become the innovative leaders in renewable energy and
energy efficiency. He expresses his fundamental belief in America and draws on America’s past as leaders
in innovation and technology to create that vision for America’s future. While there is high unemployment,
Obama emphasizes that we are in an economic transition as we compete for the development of the new
energy sectors that will drive the global economy of the future as oil resources dry up and the impact of
climate change around the world limits how much coal can be burned.
       It is always a privilege to experience President Obama in real life. No matter what one thinks of his
policies, they can’t deny that he is a grassroots kind of individual who truly reaches out to the common
       As I listened to my recording of the speech, I noticed that the applause for President Obama was loud
and prolonged when he was introduced while the applause for Governor Walker was a couple of notches
above polite applause. While the citizens of Wisconsin took a conservative approach during these hard
economic times, it is the future of the green economy where they are headed. We hope Wisconsin will not
be left behind on this high speed rail toward the future.
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling   
                       A Green Economy Dream


Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual, Jessica Pharm,
Laura Salinger, Jessica Strong, &
Martinez White

Heidi @