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In Mesquite Obama Promotes Jobs Plan, Challenges Republicans

President Obama wades into a crowd at Eastfield College in Mesquite.
President Obama wades into a crowd at Eastfield College in Mesquite.

By Shelley Kofler, KERA

Dallas, TX – A laid-off Dallas teacher shared the stage with President Barack Obama Tuesday as he lobbied for his jobs bill at Eastfield College in Mesquite.

Dallas social studies teacher Kimberly Russell lost her job when state budget cuts triggered teacher layoffs. She put a face on unemployment as she endorsed the President's plan.

Russell: I'm hoping Congress will pass the American Jobs Act to help teachers like me get back to work soon.

Then Russell introduced the President to an auditorium of invited guests.

Obama: Hello Dallas. There are teachers like Kim all over the country. All across the state of Texas, you've seen too many teachers lose their jobs because of budget cuts, and thousands more could be at risk in the coming year. Now understand this doesn't just hurt these teachers. It hurts our children. What is at stake is nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy.

The President says his $447 billion jobs bill would put 280,000 teachers back to work. It would create construction jobs by rebuilding infrastructure and add police and fire jobs in local communities.

Republicans have blocked the legislation. They say they don't like the President's plan to pay for it by eliminating tax deductions available to the wealthy and corporations. But Obama's plan also cuts payroll taxes for workers. The President challenged Republicans to reject that.

Obama: Republicans say they're the party of tax cuts. Tell them to prove it. To fight just as hard for tax cuts for working Americans as they do for the wealthiest Americans. Pass this bill.

Kimberly Russell left the President's rally saying unemployed teachers need this legislation or something like it.

Russell: I just ask for anything. Any help, anybody proposing anything, would be a benefit.

Even Tarrant County Judge Glenn Whitley, a Republican, liked the idea of creating jobs by rebuilding roads and crumbling infrastructure. Whitley said paying for the jobs plan with taxes on the wealthy is something Congress should consider.

Whitley: I believe folks earning over a million dollars ought to pay a little more. Everything should be on the table.

Even though President Obama was in Governor Rick Perry's back yard Obama didn't mention Perry who has made job creation the centerpiece of his campaign for President.