SolarTown Lunches with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus

In what is now an annual ritual, the SolarTown summer interns got the opportunity to lunch yesterday with White House Correspondent Paul Brandus. Brandus, an award winning member of the White House press corps, goes around tweeting to his vast following of over 130,000 followers on Twitter through the West Wing Reports. Now that is what you call influence. You don’t know what is going on at the White House, unless you are catching Brandus’ tweets.74.jpg

We were able to get a little closer to the action at the White House with our memorable Thai lunch with Brandus.  Over generous portions of pad thai and drunken noodles, we talked about renewable energy and the presidential election.

As a long time supporter of renewable energy with intimate knowledge of Washington politics, Brandus told us that he had noticed a change in the energy debate in the past few years. Renewable energy was a “big deal when Obama came to the White House” but the issue has been neglected as political parties became more polarized, he explained.

Also, other vital issues such as healthcare took precedence over renewable energy policy. When Brandus asked the president about his plans to put solar panels on the White House for the third time, he was told that they were working on it. The White House, still devoid of home solar panels and wind generators, is just one of many areas in Washington where renewable energy failed to gain traction.

Brandus continued by explaining that renewable energy should not be such a contentious issue. Many great American presidents have invested in new industries to help create jobs and grow the economy: Lincoln helped build our railroads and Eisenhower is called the “Father of the Interstate System.” Renewable energy should be a bi-partisan job creation issue.

Brandus also mentioned that renewable energy may play a role in determining the 2012 elections. He noted that Romney’s stance against renewable energy tax credits should hurt his chances in swing states such as Iowa, where 20% of electricity comes from the wind.

If you are looking for a direct link to the White House and want to get the latest political news, we highly recommend following West Wing Reports. We got a taste of Brandus’ reporting acumen at lunch yesterday