Andrew_Young_Whitehouse_Roundtable.jpgBy Kenya King (
With one year left until the 2012 presidential election and the economy at the forefront of public debate, prominent Atlanta business leaders recently met with senior White House official Michael Strautmanis to discuss President Obama’s American Jobs Act and what it could  bring to Atlanta and Georgia.

“This was a meeting for them to get in touch with us and tell us what they were doing,” said Ambassador Andrew Young, who was instrumental in urging Atlanta community leaders to participate in the discussion.

Young said that the Obama administration could also learn from what has been accomplished in the business sector in the South. “We wanted to tell them what we were doing because what we have done with the business community and with private investment is head and shoulders above what they’re trying to do,” said Young.

Michael Strautmanis, deputy assistant to the president and counselor for strategic engagement to the senior advisor at the White House, led the roundtable dialogue along with Young. Strautmanis, who works with Valerie Jarrett, came as part of the White House Business Council’s outreach.

Strautmanis said that Obama had a long-term strategy to create jobs and improve the economy with the Stimulus Bill and Recovery Act, and that the American Jobs Act is another part of that effort.

“When he designed the American Jobs Act, he designed it to have an immediate impact today, right now,” Strautmanis said. “He focused on the long-term unemployed and made sure we had incentives for people to hire them. He focused on veterans – we have so many coming back from Iraq as the President ends the war there. They need jobs. They need to be integrated in our community.”

Janelle Williams-Scott with the Center for Working Families, a non-profit organization in Atlanta that serves Neighborhood Planning Unit-V communities surrounding Turner Field, participated in the roundtable, and said she was pleased with the outcome.

“The meeting was about diverse and local stakeholders to talk about challenges and how we could use the AJA, the American Jobs Act, to really create innovative solutions for this current environment,” she said. “So it was a nice cross-section of representation of

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