Activists from across the southeastern U.S. gathered in Atlanta last week to hear from national experts on the Recovery Act and to discuss plans for promoting a stimulus accountability agenda in their individual states. The regional conference was the first public event sponsored by States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery (STAR Coalition).
Participants came from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Among the plenary speakers were Jerome Ringo of the Apollo Alliance, Will Schroeer of Smart Growth America, Craig Jennings of OMB Watch, Rick McHugh of the National Employment Law Project, John Dawkins of the South Carolina Progressive Network, and David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. The conference was also addressed by Georgia State Senator Nan Orrock and Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams.
Workshops were held on topics such as Organizing Around the Recovery Act, Modernizing the Safety Net, Green Jobs, Transportation Infrastructure and Researching Contractors. The day concluded with state caucuses.
The plenary sessions were recorded by a video team, which also taped interviews with individual participants. Video excerpts from the conference and the interviews will be posted on the STAR website at a later date.
The conference was organized by Good Jobs First on behalf of the STAR Coalition, which is still in formation. The website of the Coalition, which will contain info resources on the Recovery Act, will be launched soon.