United States President Barack Obama gave a speech at the Walmart on Showers Drive in Mountain View last, Friday, May 9, at 9:56 a.m. The audience consisted of Walmart employees and their families, as well as invited guests.
Walmart USA President and CEO Bill Simon spoke briefly about an hour before Obama spoke.
Obama spoke about upcoming plans to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency through investing in solar power.
“With more businesses and rural cooperatives and homes choosing solar, prices keep coming down.” Obama said. “Manufacturers keep getting more innovative. And more jobs are created. Last year jobs in the solar industry increased by 20 percent. But we’ve got more work to do, and I want to work with Congress to do it. Unfortunately, Congress has not always been as visionary on these issues as we would like. It can be a little frustrating. But in this year of action, wherever I can go ahead and create my own opportunities for new jobs, I’m gonna take them. And so far I’ve taken more than 20 executive actions.”
Obama spoke about continuing the work of his Better Buildings Initiative, launched in 2010, to create more energy efficient buildings. This plan is meant to increase efficiency while saving businesses money and creating construction jobs.
“Unfortunately, inside Washington, we’ve still got some climate deniers who shout loud, but they’re wasting everybody’s time on a settled debate,” Obama said. “Climate change is a fact. And while we know the shift to clean energy won’t happen overnight, we’ve got to make some tough choices along the way. And we know that if we do, it’s going to save us ultimately money and create jobs over the long term. That’s what Walmart understands, and Walmart’s pretty good at counting spendings.”
Obama and Simon both mentioned that this is beneficial both environmentally and economically.
LAHS history teacher Seth Donnelley, junior Vishnu Bachani and a former LAHS student attended the event to protest Obama’s drone strikes.
“We didn’t see Obama,” Vishnu said. “But we handed out a bunch of fact sheets to people.”
Other LAHS students waited outside Walmart but were unable to enter the event.