Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog
- Posted byon April 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM EDT
On Monday, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next Transportation Secretary.
Following the announcement, state and local officials across the country spoke out about the nomination and voiced their support for their colleague.
Avondale, Arizona Mayor and President of the National League of Cities Marie Lopez Rogers
“I applaud President Obama’s nomination of Mayor Anthony Foxx to be the next Secretary of Transportation. The Mayor has done an excellent job implementing transportation projects and programs in his city to the benefit of all Charlotte residents and businesses. I’m confident that he will bring this same leadership and know-how to the nation’s capital and will be an excellent addition to the President’s cabinet."
Fresno, California Mayor Ashley Swearengin:
“I am so pleased that the President has chosen a fellow mayor and good friend as Secretary of Transportation. Anthony Foxx understands the key role transportation infrastructure plays in unlocking economic growth in our cities and our nation. I look forward to working with Secretary Foxx on transportation issues of local, regional and national significance.”
President Obama Announces Intent to Nominate Anthony Foxx, Mayor of Charlotte, as Next Transportation SecretaryPosted byon April 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM EDT
President Barack Obama announces Mayor Anthony Foxx, of Charlotte, N.C., as his nominee for Transportation Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, April 29, 2013. Outgoing Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood applauds at right. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This afternoon, President Obama announced that he intends to nominate Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation.
If confirmed, Mayor Foxx will follow in the footsteps of one of the best Secretaries of Transportation ever, Secretary Ray LaHood. During Secretary LaHood’s tenure, he has been a tireless advocate for rebuilding America’s infrastructure and creating good jobs that strengthen the economy.
As the President shared in his remarks, one of the things that Secretary LaHood understands well is the value of establishing strong relationships with the nation’s mayors, governors and county officials. In continuing that tradition, the President noted that Mayor Foxx has “the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.”
As leader of one of America’s most vibrant cities, Mayor Foxx has a record of delivering on transportation. Since he took office, Charlotte has broken ground on a new Streetcar Project, expanded the international airport, and extended the city’s light rail system. He knows firsthand the importance of investing in transportation and how that investment can be a catalyst for job creation and greater opportunities for all residents.
Today, we thank Secretary Ray LaHood for his extraordinary service, leadership, and record of accomplishment. Looking forward, we know that Mayor Foxx’s experience and deep knowledge of the impact of federal transportation policy on local communities will make him an extraordinary Transportation Secretary.
David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Posted byon April 17, 2013 at 6:01 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama watches Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley sign the Veterans Full Employment Act of 2013 during a ceremony at the State House in Annapolis, Md., April 17, 2013. Seated, from left are, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., Gov. Martin O'Malley, and House Speaker Michael Busch. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
NOTE: This blog is cross-posted from the Joining Forces blog.
President Obama and the First Lady are committed to doing everything in their power to assist the brave men and women who have served our country in re-entering civilian life and finding employment. Over the last year and a half, the President has overseen the first re-design of the military’s transition assistance program in twenty years; created new tax credits to spur veteran hiring; expanded re-employment services, including the Veterans Job Bank and the Veterans Gold Card; and launched a series of initiatives to expand the number of veterans that get jobs in healthcare and first responder fields. Additionally, under the great leadership of the First Lady and Dr. Biden, Joining Forces has expanded hiring and training partnerships with the private sector in an effort to help our veterans and their spouses get back to work.
Yet, our veterans still face major hurdles as they transition out of the military and into the civilian workforce. According to a 2012 survey by Prudential and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, 60 percent of survey respondents said they had trouble translating their military skills into civilian job experience, creating a significant barrier to employment. Many high-demand, good-paying jobs like paramedics, truck drivers, nurses, and welders, require either a national certification or state occupational license to be hired, and currently our national and state systems make it very difficult for service members and veterans to obtain these civilian certifications and licenses that directly translate to their military training. Often times service members and veterans are required to repeat education or training in order to receive these occupational credentials, even though much, and in some cases, all, of their military training and experience overlaps with credential training requirements. And employers, many with significant needs for skilled workers, are left waiting for these military members to complete these, oftentimes lengthy, credentialing training programs – programs that many veterans could have taught themselves.
- Posted byon April 3, 2013 at 11:41 AM EDT
Last Thursday, President Obama stood with parents and teachers of gun violence victims to urge Congress to take action. He also promised the American people that he had not forgotten the 20 innocent children and six brave educators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary more than 100 days ago.
Today, the President will travel to the Denver, Colorado, where he will continue asking the American people to join him in calling on Congress to pass common-sense measures to reduce gun violence.
The President will meet with local law enforcement officials and community leaders to discuss the new measures the state recently put in place, including closing loopholes in the background check system to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who should not have access to them.
Golden, Colorado Mayor Marjorie Sloan and Chair of the Colorado Mayors Against Illegal Guns group shares her thoughts on President Obama’s visit to Denver:
One of the reasons I’m proud to be Mayor of Golden is because I believe our state represents what’s best about this country: the ability of our community to join together in a time of tragedy and come up with common-sense solutions on gun safety.
The legislation signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper on March 20 includes closing the background check loophole, which is supported by overwhelming numbers both here in Colorado and nationally. We’re talking about this level of support in Colorado - a western, gun-owning state. Americans have had enough.
And that’s why I’m glad President Obama will be here on Wednesday. Like Coloradans, he has not forgotten what happened in Columbine, in Aurora, and in Newtown. We won’t let those families, and all the families touched by gun violence, down.
The voices we heard when we passed gun safety laws in Colorado were from Jane Dougherty, whose sister Mary Sherlach was the school psychologist killed running at the Sandy Hook gunman, trying to protect the children. From Dave Hoover, a veteran police officer whose beloved nephew, 18 year old AJ Boik, was shot sitting next to his girlfriend in the Aurora theater. From Tom Mauser, who has been wearing his son Daniel's shoes for 14 years and fighting for gun safety ever since Daniel was killed at Columbine.
We welcome President Obama to Colorado. His presence here will remind the nation that families of Columbine, and Aurora, and Newtown, and the 33 Americans killed every day by gun violence, deserve a vote, not just in Colorado but in Congress.
Watch President Obama’s remarks live today at 5:00 PM EDT in Denver, CO.
Read more about the President’s common-sense proposals for reducing gun violence.
- Posted byon March 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM EDT
On Sunday, I had to the opportunity to have a discussion with the National Association of Counties (NACo) Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) to talk about the President’s State of the Union address and the issues facing urban counties across the country.
During the discussion we talked about the President’s commitment to providing “ladders of opportunity” to Americans aspiring to move into the middle class to make sure that hard work leads to a decent living through increasing the minimum wage, providing high-quality preschool for every child, and partnering with communities to help put people back to work.
As part of President’s proposal, county officials discussed how they could play a role in the Administration’s “Promise Zone” initiative, which seeks to align multi-faceted federal investment with private investment, to help bring about lasting and replicable transformation to communities racked with systemic poverty.
Also on the agenda was a discussion on how counties will be impacted by the sequester from reduced federal funding for job training programs, cuts in funding for programs that provide meals for seniors, and fewer vaccines for children. County officials across the county know that the only way to responsibly reduce the deficit and protect the middle class is through a balanced approach, much like they champion in their communities every day.
In addition , county officials also had the opportunity to hear from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Attorney General Eric Holder on how the Obama Administration continues to strengthen its relationship with the nation’s counties.
Read more about the Administration’s strong partnership with county officials.
Jay Williams is the Deputy Director in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
- Posted byon February 25, 2013 at 7:02 PM EDT
The President believes we must put Americans back to work and build the infrastructure we need to succeed in a global economy. Part of his plan to make this happen is to cut permitting timelines for major infrastructure projects in half and create incentives for better outcomes for communities and the environment.
Today, the Administration is launching five pilot Regional Teams to strengthen collaboration, cut red tape, and reduce permitting timelines. Each team will facilitate Federal field office coordination on regional infrastructure priorities including passenger rail, renewable energy, electricity transmission, oil and gas production, and drought mitigation. In the Pacific Northwest, we’re going to partner with states to move faster on renewable energy, transmission and other infrastructure projects. We’re going to help the Northeast Corridor move faster on high-speed rail service. In the central U.S., we’ll work on projects that will help local communities deal with worsening drought. We’re going to help states like North Dakota and Montana move faster on oil and gas production. And we’ll develop a cross-discipline team to facilitate the development of electrical transmission in the West. These teams will also serve as a laboratory for further innovations.
State, local, and tribal governments are critical partners in the effort to address our Nation’s infrastructure needs and reach these goals. Close collaboration with states is especially important because major infrastructure projects like bridges, rail lines, and waterways often involve both Federal and state agency permits. That’s why working together from the beginning of the permitting process can shave months or even years off project timelines, as well as deliver a project that will have better results for local communities and the environment.
For example, the Department of Transportation took months off the timeline to approve the Whittier Bridge Replacement project in Massachusetts by working with the state government and doing concurrent project reviews. More than 70,000 cars cross the bridge every day, and this project –scheduled to start construction in spring of this year – will bring it up to current safety standards and increase its capacity.
In another example, the Department of the Interior worked with the State of California to create a Renewable Energy Policy Group to align Federal and state permitting and review processes to expedite solar, wind, geothermal and transmission projects in California. To date, thanks to these efforts, approximately 15 gigawatts of renewable energy projects – enough to power millions of homes – have been approved in California, including more than 5 gigawatts on public lands.
And those are just two examples of how we are reducing projected timelines for more than 40 major infrastructure projects around the country by several months to several years, as you can see here on our permitting dashboard.
We have made tremendous strides in working together with our state partners to cut project timelines and make permitting for critical infrastructure project more efficient and timely. Now is the time to be building on this progress, not taking a step back. But a step back is exactly what we face if Congress does not act in the coming days to avoid the across-the-board cuts – known as sequestration – scheduled to take effect this Friday. As just one example, permitting by the Department of the Interior would slow down, creating delays for the development of oil and gas on Federal lands. Congress must act quickly to pass a balanced plan to reduce our long-term deficits and invests in what we do need – like better infrastructure.
David Agnew is Director for Intergovernmental Affairs and Danny Werfel is Controller of the Office of Management and Budget
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