While millions of Americans remain out of work, rebuilding our economy is my top priority. We've come a long way in the last two years, but not far enough. Our economic problems did not materialize overnight, and they will not be fixed overnight. Most importantly, we must rebuild the foundations of our prosperity, namely the transportation, energy and data infrastructure that has fallen into sorry disrepair. We also must dedicate ourselves to assuring that our educational system is producing the world's most capable students.
If I hear one consistent message from local businesses about how we can help them expand and create more jobs, it is that we must improve our infrastructure. While China and Europe are investing in high-speed trains and next generation energy grids, our systems are clogged and outdated. Our electrical grid suffers from decades of neglect, and internet access is only a dream for far too many Americans. Our grandparents came together to bind our nation with an unparalleled interstate highway system. It is our turn to imagine and build the 21st century equivalent.
From the rising costs of heating our homes to the security threats posed by our nation's dependence on foreign oil, our task is clear: America must transition to a sustainable energy economy, and begin doing so right away. Investing in renewable, cleaner energy will create jobs, reduce costs for businesses, and help protect our economy against growing energy demands and the whims and instabilities of places like the Middle East, Nigeria, and Venezuela.
The nation that best educates its children will ultimately be the nation that out-innovates and out-competes the rest of the world. Nothing is more essential to our long-term prosperity than our children's ability to become the next generation of entrepreneurs, engineers, teachers, and leaders. Recent efforts to cut education funding are short-sighted and detrimental. While simply throwing money at our schools will not fix our problems, we know we need to invest in our children's future if they are to become the workers that will lead through world. The federal government must search the nation for examples of success, in high-achieving public, private and charter schools, and then use its reach and resources to make sure best practices are universally adopted.