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Guest on The Infra Blog: Marcia Hale, President, Building America’s Future Educational Fund

Posted by Steve Anderson on Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

This interview is part of the countdown to Infrastructure Week 2014. 

Infrastructure Week is a week of talks, round-table events, and Q & A sessions to focus on infrastructure and explore new approaches being developed nationwide to modernize aging infrastructure. The event was created in 2013 by Brookings Institution, Building America’s Future Educational Fund, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AFL-CIO, 1776, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Organization for International Investment, and the Value of Water Coalition. Click here to see the full calendar of events.

Marcia Hale, President, Building America's Future Educational Fund
As President of the Building America’s Future Educational Fund, Marcia Hale is one of the leaders of Infrastructure Week 2014. 
Ms. Hale joins Building America’s Future Educational Fund after serving as a Managing Director for McKenna, Long and Aldridge, an international law firm in Washington, DC.  Prior, Ms. Hale advised several organizations including the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  During the Clinton administration, Ms. Hale served as Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House. In this capacity, she was responsible for coordinating policy initiatives and political outreach involving state and local elected officials.  Ms. Hale began her Washington, DC experience as a Legislative Assistant to US Representative Butler Derrick of South Carolina and several years later was named the Washington office Director for Governor  Dick Riley (D-SC). She has also held senior level positions in government and national campaigns, as well as working at both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC).

Infrastructure Week 2014
What we’re trying to do is sponsor a whole series of programs that week and be very fluid about it, but highlight all the different types of infrastructure and what needs to be done to bring the country into the 21st century.

Why infra measures get stuck in Washington
If you take this down to a local level or a state level almost all these projects get approved in referendum…When you take it to a larger scale and it’s Washington…that’s when things get stymied. It’s more a debate about the money and investment, but what this country really needs is a vision, a long-term vision for what it needs to be able to compete and what that means on all various levels of infrastructure.

Infra investment could create high paying jobs right now
Infrastructure jobs are high paying, high-skilled jobs. It is completely crazy we haven’t used this huge need in the country to improve its infrastructure–to not only do that but to provide good paying jobs.

Cities and states are taking Infra into their own hands
There’s so much innovation taking place on the city and state level, and I think that’s because people who need to get things done and do things for the citizens are so frustrated with Washington that…they’re trying to find ways to implement these types of projects on their own. 

We can’t get anything done without a vision
To move it forward in a comprehensive way, I think we really need our leaders to have a vision of where the country should go…So what does an individual need to do? An individual needs to let their state legislator, their governor, and their member of congress know that it’s important to them. 

We’d care more about infrastructure if we knew what we were missing
I think we visually need to show people…what JFK looks like as opposed to some of the brilliant new airports in Europe, and what high-speed rail looks like in many countries around the world while we don’t have one single line of high-speed rail.

Download full transcript (PDF): Marcia Hale on The Infra Blog

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