Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

2 ways President Obama will leave his mark on California

by Austin Cross and A Martínez | Take Two®

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US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at the establishment of the Chavez National Monument October 8, 2012 in Keene, California. Obama is on a three day trip where he will campaign in California and Ohio as well as attend the establishment of the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

As the sun rises on the Trump tenure, so too must it set on the incumbent. 

President Obama is scheduled to deliver the final address of his presidency this evening from Chicago: his adopted home and the place where it all began. 

Much has been said about the legacy of the man who saw the nation through some of its toughest days. 

In the Golden State, where the president found some of his strongest support, his legacy will continue to ripple up and down the golden coast. 

For a look back and a look ahead, Take Two spoke with three guests: 

Lynn Vavreck, professor of political science at UCLA
Jeremy Carl, research fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution
And Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, professor of gender studies and political science at USC

Here are the top 2 areas in which President Obama will leave his mark: 

1. The Environment

Experts disagree over whether President Obama's efforts to champion green energy were ultimately positive for California. Here are two different takes.

Positive:

Ange-Marie Hancock-Alfaro,: I think one of the key areas where Obama has tried to have that impact is this notion of green jobs. For example, we are a place where there is tons of sun, so we know that solar energy is one of the most important things. What the Obama Administration has done is think about how that leveraging of solar energy can benefit working-class folks in terms of actually getting them jobs. 

You have people in community college systems; you have people without degrees who then get trained vocationally to do things like install solar energy panels. Part of those 15.4 million jobs that were created since 2010 in this country has to do with those green jobs. 

Less-positive

Jeremy Carl: There's a lot of facets to his energy legacy. One of them is, and this is not just Obama, but we're paying twice as much for electricity than some of our neighbors out here in the West. 

We've got Solyndra and failed crony capitalism [and] it's been an unfriendly environment for oil and gas exploration here due to both federal and state regulations.

In the interest of being fair, unlike many areas, we've had Silicon Valley as the nexus of clean tech growth, and I think we will see some very promising developments that will eventually potentially be some interesting market solutions. But I think the way that we've gotten there has been very sub-optimal and more concerned with what's politically correct than what's effective. 

2. The Affordable Care Act 

Senate efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also know as Obamacare, stalled last night. While the future of healthcare is uncertain, few would deny that the ACA has had a significant impact in the Golden State. Since its implementation, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that 54 percent of uninsured Californians now have coverage. 

USC's Ange-Marie Hancock-Alfaro tells Take Two's A Martinez that the ACA was a victory for women here and across the country, whether or not they participated in the health exchanges.  The extra coverage afforded to women by Obamacare could now be rolled back entirely:

There are going be very specific rollbacks that will affect women. 

For example, the idea of having support for nursing moms, gestational diabetes, resources that were attributed to women who are affected by domestic violence, coverage for all of those things — even for women who may have had insurance before the ACA — goes away. 

Employers will no longer be mandated to have this sort of coverage for female employees if that repeal goes through in its entirety. 

What to expect tonight: 

Lynn Vavreck: I doubt that there will be a lot of looking back. It's not in his nature. He's much more of a hopeful optimist, forward-looking thinker, and speaker. 

The tradition is the important feature here, and it's a chance for Barack Obama to do the thing he loves to do and, quite frankly, the thing that he's better at doing than most human beings. 

It's a little bit like letting Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or Aaron Rogers throw one last long touchdown pass. This is what he's really good at. 

Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity. To listen to the full interview, click on the blue media player above.

 

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