The loss of Toyota from Torrance to Texas is a big hit to the economy of the South Bay. While there is plenty of blame to go around, it is not the only sucking sound of jobs to be heard from our district.

Elon Musk’s solar energy company, Solar City, is  taking 900 good jobs to Nevada. With it go good education opportunities as well, as Solar City has already begun working with Nevada’s higher educational providers to develop programs to build a workforce educated in renewable energy. 

What Nevada is hailing as a significant catch for their economy, is a significant loss for ours.  This is only the first step in the company’s vision for growth, and the company will in the not too distant be future be adding many manufacturing and distribution centers for solar power equipment.

In addition to losing Solar City jobs to Nevada, California also didn’t make Tesla’s short list of potential states for the  very green battery manufacturing plant that Tesla Motors Inc. is getting ready to open. Elon Musk is close to naming sites in at least two U.S. states for a planned battery “gigafactory” and will break ground at each to ensure one is ready to supply lithium-ion packs when needed. Unfortunately, it will not be here. Musk explained that the regulatory process for approval in California was too slow to accommodate his plans.

With the loss of Boeing's 777X airplanes to Washington state and the loss for Northrup Grumman of orders for the FA-18 fighter jets (as well as other defense contracts that are winding down), we need to get very serious about how we are going to keep our most vibrant, cutting edge industries here. The pool of talent and skill in our aerospace and defense community is a jewel not only of our district, but of our country. We need to re-envision and re-purpose that talent — creating new sources of income that not only keep but actually add to the abundance of good, high paying jobs in our South Bay. 

Big incentives and fair tax codes are important of course, but they alone are not enough to stave off the job losses we’re experiencing. We need a strategic and modern approach to our situation now, including Congressional reallocation of wasteful defense spending to commercialization projects in the Aerospace and Defense industries. From expanding opportunities for space exploration and manufacturing, to repurposing of defense contractor’s missions toward modernized defense needs and disaster relief in the age of climate catastrophe, there are unlimited opportunities for unrealized growth. And more than anything else, we need a Green New Deal to rebuild America’s infrastructure using cutting edge green technologies. Nowhere is there a pool of skill and talent more prepared for that job than here in District 33.

We must ensure that green energy and technology jobs find a nurturing environment here, with a well educated public workforce, strategic education programs, and art as well as STEM education. Both our youth as well as our more mature workforce deserve all the support, preparation and opportunity to be tomorrow’s job creators and the support system they will need. We need to move forward with transcendent pragmatism that no career politician will bring; we need visionary and imaginative leadership which I look forward to providing both in Congress and in District 33.

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