Friday, April 09, 2010

The best part of a very good week

On the heels of a very challenging week before recess, I am happy to report a series of pieces of good news. But, first I cannot help but saying the highlight of my week was telling a story about my neck tie to a four year old who asked what it was. At the very gracious invitations of their teachers, I got to spend time this week with a group of very inquisitive, cute and energetic three and four year olds at Corporate Kids, the child care center at the downtown Federal Building. I was happy to talk with the little ones about the most important issues facing them: why it is so important to listen to their parents and why they should not run off or leave the house without permission.

We then topped a productive meeting with cake. Friends, sometimes this job can really be a struggle, and then there are visits like this and it makes it all worthwhile. Thank you to some of my youngest constituents for a fantastic afternoon!

This week, I also visited the students at Hickman Mills High School who presented a check for $1,600 for Haitian relief efforts to be delivered to UMCOR an international non-profit. The young men and women at Hickman who spent their time and effort in service of those in need is, frankly, inspiring. I know their school and parents are very proud of them. I can tell you that the next time I see Secretary Clinton I will absolutely tell her of the efforts of these outstanding students. Schools in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District have raised more than $10,000 in cash and supplies for those who still struggle in Haiti. Simply awesome!

Jobs Now

National, state and local leaders representing government, business, labor and environmental groups convened today in Kansas City Wednesday for the “Clean Energy Roadshow.” The Roadshow was created to find ways to spur collaborative public-private investment in the clean energy economy and create quality green jobs for American workers. Kansas City is the Roadshow’s tenth stop in a multi-city, multi-state national tour that is expected to run through 2011.

I was pleased to highlight Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone initiative, which concentrates resources like federal and state weatherization funding into a low-income, high-unemployment neighborhood to create jobs and improve energy efficiency, as an example of success.

We know our nation must change the way we produce and consume energy, we must make our homes more efficient and we must get Americans back to work. The conversation we continued this week leverages once-in-a-lifetime federal resources to spur private commitments in remaking our economy for a sustainable future. The American labor movement has done more than any policy or politician to build the middle class. We are climbing out of a recession spurred, in part, by turning our back on the worker and valuing a quick buck over honest labor. It is time again for our economy to be based on hard work and fair pay.

The Roadshow is currently focused in large part on strengthening America’s energy efficiency retrofit industry. Part of the Kansas City Roadshow involved members of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 264 (pictured above) demonstrating elements of the home energy efficiency retrofits that will be done in the Green Impact Zone, including conducting an infrared scan for air leaks and blowing insulation into drafty walls.

Retrofitting energy inefficient homes in America will not only create tens of thousands of new jobs, but it will also save families an average of $440 to $600 a year on their home energy bills, and in some cases much more. In addition, it will reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil, improve quality of life for homeowners and families and reduce U.S carbon emissions equivalent to taking 615,000 cars off the road in order to help mitigate climate change.

First new business opens in Green Zone

This week I was very proud to announce some great news for the Green Impact Zone project. The Green Impact Zone is now home to ongoing research and development of new magnetic technology which will revolutionize the way we design and use electric motors and generators – providing more efficiency and power while helping consumers save money and energy.

It was my
to join P.J. Piper president and CEO of QM Power to cut the ribbon on the first business to move into the Green Impact Zone since its inception less than a year ago. More than just opening the doors on a new business, Mr. Piper announced that he is moving his corporate headquarters from Boston to The Green Impact Zone. He literally could have chosen anywhere in the country to locate and he chose the Eastside of Troost. This is a huge win and one we should all be very proud of.

At the opening Mr. Piper said, “QM Power’s investment in innovative, game-changing clean technologies aligns well with Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s Green Impact Zone. We look forward to bringing the world’s most efficient and power dense electric motor, generator and actuator technology to Kansas City.”

Friends, these are jobs where there were previously none, and is only the start. Currently QM Power employs six people and plans to hire an additional 20 employees within the next year. By 2013, Mr. Piper said the company will likely grow to 100 employees. Along with creating several highly-skilled, high-salaried jobs, QM Power plans to collaborate with the University of Missouri System, corporate development partners, government agencies, national research labs, suppliers and customers.

In addition to providing job prospects, QM Power will sign a Memorandum of Understanding to solidify research collaborations with UMKC. For the past year, the School of Computing and Engineering faculty and students have gained research experience by assisting QM Power with controller, power electronics, wind turbine, medical robotics and cryogenic development projects.

This is a huge win for the Green Impact Zone, UMKC and Missouri’s Fifth District. Thanks to all who have helped make it a reality!

Recognizing a job well done

FRED BLOCHER/Kansas City Star

Wednesday, Congressman Barney Frank, Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and I recognized Kansas City’s own UMB and Commerce Bank for being named the highest rated banks in the continental United States.

Each year Forbes evaluates America’s 100 largest banks. The rankings are based on criteria that measured asset quality, capital adequacy and profitability. The rankings for 2009 name UMB the second-best bank in 2009 behind Bank of Hawaii while Commerce ranked third.

The Forbes rankings confirm what we have known here in Kansas City for decades. America’s strongest and most reliable banks are not on the coasts, they are in the heartland where common sense, hard work and exceptional service have been the foundations for UMB and Commerce Bank since the day they opened their doors.

Chairman Frank and I presented both bank Chairmen framed copies of Congressional Record statements delivered on the floor of the House of Representatives in honor of the employees, officers, directors and shareholders with congratulations on a job well done.