freeSpeech: Barack Obama

Sometimes it seems like energy policy is only discussed when gas prices are up and elections are looming. But America's oil addiction doesn't go away when prices come down and the polls close.

There are few issues besides energy that combine so many of the challenges we face today.

When Ford lays off thousands of workers, it's because they can't compete with foreign companies that are making more fuel-efficient cars.

When we hear about rising global temperatures, it's because the fossil fuels we burn are damaging our climate. And when we wonder why the U.S. is so involved in the Middle East, it's because we need their oil.

We don't have to settle for this future.

We should replace more of the oil we use with alternative fuels like ethanol, and we can even make a deal with our auto companies. If they make more fuel-efficient cars, the government will help them pay for their retiree health care costs.

The point is, the ideas on energy are out there. But we need the leadership to make it happen. And now is the time to make your voice heard, not only this November, but in all the days that follow.

Sen. Barack Obama, D.-Il., was sworn into office Jan. 4, 2005. Sen. Obama is focused on promoting economic growth and bringing good paying jobs to Illinois. He serves on the important Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees legislation and funding for the environment and public works projects throughout the country, including the national transportation bill.

During his seven years in the Illinois state Senate, Obama worked with both Democrats and Republicans to help working families get ahead by creating programs like the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided more than $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state.

Barack Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961, in Hawaii to Barack Obama Sr. and Ann Dunham. Obama graduated from Columbia University in 1983, and moved to Chicago in 1985 to work for a church-based group seeking to improve living conditions in poor neighborhoods plagued with crime and high unemployment. In 1991, Obama graduated from Harvard Law School, where he was the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review.