Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog
- Posted byon December 2, 2013 at 1:55 PM EST
Last month in Seattle, I had the opportunity to join St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, President of the National League of Cities, and Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, to announce the second annual Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, which will be on April 1, 2014.
St. Paul, MN Mayor and National League of Cities President Chris Coleman, joined AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members in sorting food at the Pike Place Market Food Bank during the NLC's Annual Congress of Cities and Exposition in Seattle, Wash. (Photo Courtesy CNCS)
In 2013, 832 mayors representing nearly 100 million citizens participated in the inaugural effort, and we hope for an even bigger turnout this year with the help of partners including Cities of Service, the National League of Cities, and others.
At the event in Seattle, the mayors shared how service helps their community.
On hand to announce the 2014 Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service were NLC President and St. Paul, MN Mayor Chris Coleman, Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer, and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Mesa, AZ Mayor Scott Smith. (Photo courtesy of CNCS)
“The beauty of service is that those who serve don’t do it for the headlines or the recognition. They do it because they care, they want to make a difference.” said Mayor Smith. “Mayors Day of Recognition is a way to show our gratitude to AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members for making our communities better places to live.”
As the federal agency for service and volunteering, CNCS annually engages more than five million citizens in service at more than 70,000 sites in 8,500 cities across the country through AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and other programs. The agency uses federal and private resources to support nonprofit groups, and a significant portion of this investment is focused on cities. At the direction of President Obama in the recent Presidential Memorandum on Expanding National Service, we will be doing more in the coming year to use AmeriCorps and Senior Corps as a strategy to tackle some of our toughest challenges.
Mayors can participate in the April 1 recognition effort by visiting www.nationalservice.gov/mayorsforservice for more information.
Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.
- Posted byon November 25, 2013 at 2:56 PM EST
I grew up in public housing, the son of immigrant parents, and I know the important role that immigrants play in the American economy. I saw it with my own eyes.
So when the national debate turns to immigration reform, I am personally motivated to advocate for commonsense reforms to bring our immigration system into the 21st Century.
Today, President Obama came to San Francisco to discuss the importance of passing comprehensive immigration reform this year. He couldn’t have picked a better City to make this case – we’ve always been a place that welcomes entrepreneurs and innovators, from the United States and abroad. Chinese call San Francisco “gum san” or Gold Mountain, a City of hope and dreams to manifest your own destiny. It’s true – our City has always welcomed all comers, and we’re stronger for it.
From the lessons I learned in my childhood to the stories I hear every day as Mayor of San Francisco, I believe deeply that America should welcome immigrants into the unique fabric that defines and differentiates our nation. San Francisco might be Gold Mountain, but it’s time America starts once again living up to its promise as a beacon of freedom and democracy.
- Posted byon November 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM EST
Earlier this month, the White House hosted an impressive group of state and local elected officials affiliated with the New American Leaders Project (NALP), a nonpartisan organization focused on preparing first and second-generation Americans for leadership positions. The guest list included State Senators, Mayors, County Supervisors, School Board Members, Councilmembers, and Sheriffs, each representing a unique constituency and culture. During the event, we thanked each official for their service and provided briefings on a variety of policy areas, including immigration, education and healthcare:
- Felicia Escobar, Senior Policy Director for Immigration, explained the economic benefits of an earned path to citizenship and the President’s push for commonsense immigration reform.
- Roberto Rodriguez, Special Assistant to the President for Education, outlined the President’s education priorities, including his goal to lead the world with the highest proportion of college graduates in 2020.
- The Offices of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement discussed the President’s continuing efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act.
- Posted byon November 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM EST
This Veterans’ Day, I want to join the President in saying “Thank You” to the brave men and women from across the country who have answered the call to serve their country. I also want to thank those veterans who have returned home and have chosen to continue serving. From City Halls to Indian Country to State Capitols throughout this country, some of America’s veterans are continuing their public service as elected officials.
There are far too many to mention them all, but here are just a few examples:
- A Vietnam Era veteran, Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa, joined the Army after graduating from college. Sergeant Branstad was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service and then returned to Iowa where his life in public service would continue.
- Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe served in the U.S. Army Reserve, before beginning his career as a lawyer and longtime state legislator and state Attorney General.
- Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, MA enlisted in the US Naval Reserve in 2003. He went on to serve as an intelligence officer in Iraq and is now the Mayor of the city in which he was raised.
- Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO served in the Armed Forces before returning home and becoming Mayor of the town he grew up in. His service began in 1971 when he joined the Marines.
- Posted byon November 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM EST
Today, we are excited to announce the members of President Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
The anniversary of Hurricane Sandy reminds us how important it is for all levels of government to work together to protect communities and families. A year ago this week, communities were shattered, families were torn apart, homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and lives were upended. But brick by brick, block by block, these communities are rebuilding to be more prepared and resilient. They will come back stronger and the Federal government will continue to stand right by their side as we continue to recover and rebuild.
In the wake of this disaster, we have learned some valuable lessons about how to prepare our communities and be more resilient to these types of extreme weather events, which are growing more frequent and severe with climate change. Instead of recreating old vulnerabilities during the rebuilding process, we implemented a stronger, uniform flood risk rebuilding standard, and provided resources for more climate-resilient roads and infrastructure, and projects that protect drinking water and buffer communities from flooding. Much of what we have learned was compiled into the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force report released earlier this year.
In another important step, today we announced the members of a new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The President first announced the establishment of this short-term Task Force on June 25, 2013, as part of his Climate Action Plan.
The Task Force members include bipartisan governors, mayors and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations for the Administration.
The Task Force will present their recommendations to the President within a year to guide and shape Federal policy. An Executive Order signed by the President today also directs Federal agencies ranging from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Department of Transportation to examine their programs across the board and find ways to make it easier for cities and towns to build smarter and stronger.
As co-chairs of the Task Force, we look forward to working with the Task Force members, and other local, state, and tribal leaders, to combat the impacts of climate change.
- Governor Neil Abercrombie (HI)
- Governor Jerry Brown (CA)
- Governor Eddie Calvo (GU)
- Governor Jay Inslee (WA)
- Governor Jack Markell (DE)
- Governor Martin O’Malley (MD)
- Governor Pat Quinn (IL)
- Governor Peter Shumlin (VT)
- Mayor Ralph Becker (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Mayor James Brainard (Carmel, IN)
- Commissioner Paula Brooks (Franklin County, OH)
- Supervisor Salud Carbajal (Santa Barbara County, CA)
- Mayor Frank Cownie (Des Moines, IA)
- Mayor Bob Dixson (Greensburg, KS)
- Mayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles, CA)
- Mayor George Heartwell (Grand Rapids, MI)
- Mayor Kristin Jacobs (Broward County, FL)
- Mayor Kevin Johnson (Sacramento, CA)
- Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA)
- Mayor Annise Parker (Houston, TX)
- Mayor Patsy Parker (Perdido Beach, AL)
- Mayor Madeline Rogero (Knoxville, TN)
- Mayor Karen Weitkunat (Fort Collins, CO)
- Mayor Dawn Zimmer (Hoboken, NJ)
- Karen Diver, Chairwoman, Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (MN)
- Reggie Joule, Mayor, Northwest Arctic Borough (AK)
To learn more about President Obama’s State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, click here.
David Agnew is Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Nancy Sutley is Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
- State Officials:
- Posted byon September 20, 2013 at 4:09 PM EST
Communities across the country came together this week to celebrate Constitution Day, Citizenship Day, and Constitution Week. The President celebrated the historical influence of immigrants of all backgrounds in his 2013 Proclamation for Constitution Day, Citizenship Day and Constitution Week:
“We are a proud Nation of immigrants, home to a long line of aspiring citizens who contributed to their communities, founded businesses, or sacrificed their livelihoods so they could pass a brighter future on to their children. Each year on Citizenship Day, we welcome the newest members of the American family as they pledge allegiance to our Constitution and join us in writing the next chapter of our national story.”
Last week, I had the honor of joining Mayor Bill Euille in welcoming twenty-five new Americans from fourteen countries during a naturalization ceremony at Alexandria City Hall. Each participant in the ceremony is a testament to the promise of the American dream that says no matter who you are, where you came from, what your last name is, or what you believe, if you come to America and work hard then you can make it if you try.
I witnessed proof of that dream in Alexandria, a city that just like every other city in America was made great by the immigrants that built businesses, schools and homes and struggled for a better life.
I also saw proof of that limitless possibility looking back at me from the front row in the face of Zofia Dubicka. Zofia came to the United States from Germany at age 3, but only discovered that she was not a U.S. citizen this year, 64 years later. Her family left Poland at the end of World War II and her parents became naturalized citizens when she was a teenager, but they never filed for Zofia’s citizenship. Becoming a citizen of the United States, she said, was “to know how my father felt when he experienced becoming a citizen; to be proud, as always, to have been able to live here.” You can read more about Zofia’s story here.
What this ceremony reminded me is that we are the greatest nation in the history of the world because we are a nation of immigrants. The story of our wealth and our prosperity is the story of those immigrants who came to our shores and made us stronger, by creating and striving and doing their jobs better than anyone else in the world.
I look forward to seeing what each of our newest citizens writes into the next chapter of the great American story.
David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
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