U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios said in Oakland today that the American economy has improved from the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009 but much work remains.
"We still have a long way to go and we're not by any means done," Rios said to about 75 people at a forum hosted by the Alameda County Budget Workgroup at the state building.
Rios, a Hayward native, held economic development posts in Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro and Union City before President Obama nominated her to be Treasurer in May 2009. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate two months later.
Rios said the $800 billion stimulus formally known as the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 helped "jumpstart the economy from a very deep hole."
She said Build America Bonds program, which helps states and localities pursue capital projects which build infrastructure and create jobs, has been "a very big success story."
Rios also said the Small Business Jobs Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in September 2010, has appropriated more than $1.4 billion to help small businesses by making it easier for them to obtain loans and get lines of credit.
In addition, Rios said Obama is now calling for the creation of a national infrastructure bank that would fund transportation, energy and water infrastructure projects of national importance.
Rios is the third-ranking person in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, behind Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and Deputy Secretary Neal Wolin.
In her post, Rios has direct oversight of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the U.S. Mint, and Fort Knox, and her signature is printed on U.S. currency.
Rios also serves as a senior advisor to Geithner in the areas of community development and public engagement.
Rios took questions from the audience at the end of her prepared remarks but told reporters that her answers were off the record.