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Unemployed share stories at jobs town hall

August 16, 2011 11:50:26 PM PDT
In a speech in Iowa Tuesday, President Barack Obama acknowledged that times are tough, but said Americans are tougher. In the Bay Area, some of those suffering from unemployment will tell their stories to members of the congressional delegation at an even Tuesday night in Oakland.

The Acts Full Gospell Church of God in Christ in East Oakland is playing host to a town hall meeting Tuesday night featuring Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. Mike Honda, D-San Jose. It's a chance for everyday Americans to tell their lawmakers what they're up against when it comes to jobs.

"We want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to strengthening this economy," said Obama Tuesday.

When Obama speaks about job creation, Gloria Wroten hopes the business community is listening.

"I would encourage employers to hire unemployed people because we'll turn out to be the best employees because we've been unemployed so long, we're going to walk the line and do the best we can to do a good job," said Wroten who is unemployed.

She spends three hours a day at places like Oakland's One-Stop Career Center, searching for work in the solar industry. Her story is the kind of testimonial Lee wants to hear Tuesday night to place into the congressional record.

"Oftentimes people who are poor, people who don't have the money, people who are unemployed, don't get to a chance to go to [Washington,] D.C., and so I want them on record talking about and speaking out about what the issues are and what the difficulties are," said Lee.

Oakland has the highest unemployment rate of any big city west of the Mississippi at 16.3 percent. The challenges here and across the nation will become part of a legislative jobs agenda pushed by Democratic leaders, including Pelosi.

"Where does job creation occur? It occurs in small businesses, in the entrepreneurial spirit of our Bay Area, thinking in a different way," said Pelosi. "It occurs by paying adequate wages to people."

"There are opportunities out there," said Wroten. "All I need is one."

Democrats are holding forums like this one all around the country and then taking those comments back to Washington in September.

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