Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog
- Posted byon July 15, 2011 at 4:58 PM EST
Next week, I’ll participate in the 2011 Annual Conference of the National Association of Counties(NACo) with partners from across the Administration.
The timing is bittersweet for me, as I prepare to return to Seattle after more than two years as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. But this conference reminds me how far we’ve come since I first spoke to NACo two years ago – and the steps we’ve taken to help cities and regions tackle common challenges together.
Having served as King County Executive in Washington for a dozen years before coming to HUD, I knew all too well that the Federal government wasn’t usually part of that conversation. And when it was, the Federal government was more often a barrier to progress than the kind of partner we needed.
In King County, we created a regional affordable housing program, one of our nation’s first regional climate plans, and established light rail service that connected some of the most distressed areas of Greater Seattle. Virtually on our own, we turned into the kind of thriving metropolitan region we need to win the future.
Unfortunately, without a federal partner to help places facing similar challenges cut through the red tape and leverage private investment, the kinds of turnarounds we’ve seen in Seattle or Boston or Pittsburgh have been all too rare.
But because of President Obama, Secretary Donovan and leaders throughout this Administration, that’s beginning to change. They realize that our metros produce over 80 percent of the nation’s patents and exports, where 90 cents out of every dollar America produces come from, and where more than 8-in-10 residents live. And they know competitors like China and India realize it, too.
- Posted byon July 15, 2011 at 8:15 AM EST
Recently, the White House hosted 200 young elected officials from 40 states for a series of briefings and a reception where the President stopped by. Throughout the day, we spoke with a few of the elected officials about what it meant to hear directly from the President and why they would encourage other young people to run for office. Previously we heard from Oregon State Representative Jefferson Smith, Colorado City Councilman Chris Herndon, and Nebraska State Senator Amanda McGill. This week, Colorado Representative Dan Pabon and Wakulla Florida County Commissioner Alan Brock tell us about their experiences as young elected officials.
Michael Block is the Assistant Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.
- Posted byon July 14, 2011 at 5:12 PM EST
Earlier this week, President Obama spoke with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and a small bi-partisan group of mayors on the progress towards finding a solution that both lets our nation keep its obligations and finds a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The President explained why getting our nation’s fiscal house in order must be a top priority, and highlighted how we have a unique opportunity to find a solution that not only raises the debt ceiling so we can pay our nation’s bills, but also takes our fiscal challenges head on by significantly reducing our deficits. The President understands that just like families across the nation, mayors in every state struggle everyday to make the tough choices necessary to keep their local economies going. He believes that leaders in Washington need to make the same kinds of tough choices and come together to find common ground and show the American people that we can do big things as a nation.
Mayors across the country share what they think:
Our government needs to do what families across America have done since this recession began – solve its financial problems and start living within its means. As a nation, it is imperative that we get our finances under control, reduce our deficit, and work to fix the country’s long-term financial problems. Playing politics with the full faith and credit of the United States of America is simply not an option.
- Posted byon July 8, 2011 at 6:49 PM EST
One year ago, President Obama traveled to Racine, Wisconsin to hold a town hall on the economy. During the town hall, the President talked about extending unemployment benefits and helping small business owners get the loans they need to keep their doors open and hire more workers. He listened to the people of Racine as they requested help in weathering the mortgage crisis, asked what the White House could do to help military families, and strongly recommended that he try O&H Kringle and the Johnsonville bratwurst while he was in town.
On Wednesday, thanks to video-conferencing technology, we had the chance to check back in with Racine during the White House Intergovernmental Affairs team's first Virtual Town Hall. Racine Mayor John Dickert kicked off our discussion by promising that Racine’s famous Kringles are 100% fat free and recalling the President’s significant Kringle purchase during last year’s visit. But the real goal of the teleconference was to hear from Mayor John Dickert and Racine business and community leaders on the state of the Racine economy and better understand how businesses there are faring in the recovery.
- Posted byon July 7, 2011 at 3:42 PM EST
The President recently launched the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities, and the federal government to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance our global competitiveness.
California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom reflects on an event in Sacramento that focused on the advanced manufacturing industry:
Following the jobs-focused leadership of President Obama and his Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, I recently hosted a statewide summit in Sacramento with the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. Themed “Everything Grows with Manufacturing” and engaging 200 of our state’s best and brightest business and policy leaders, we discussed California’s past, present and future role in advanced manufacturing and the President’s call to increase our global competitiveness.
California has always been a place of dreamers and doers, where the future is literally invented. We’ve led the world in innovation, cutting-edge discoveries, research and development and technology – but we have to do better in the area of manufacturing. California manufacturing has fallen from 28 percent of our GDP to nearly 11 percent. But it’s not all bad news. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, “since 2003, California manufacturing exports rose 60 percent faster than the state’s overall economy.” Manufacturing is the key to exports and exports are critical to California and the country.
- Posted byon July 6, 2011 at 11:49 AM EST
In the week leading up to the 4th of July, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services held nearly 350 naturalization ceremonies across the country, welcoming over 24,000 new citizens to the United States.
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory shares his experience at a naturalization ceremony last week:
Last week, Cincinnati hosted the 2011 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention and Exposition. As part of that great event, I witnessed 93 individuals become citizens of our nation. I was honored to be there.
It was incredible to watch people, not born in the United States, actively choosing to become Americans. I was reminded of the greatness of our nation. Many of us are fortunate to be American citizens by birth. However, when we became citizens, there was no official ceremony. There was no color guard, no judge, no U.S. Senator, no pomp and circumstance. But when someone chooses to go through the hard work of becoming an American citizen, it is worthy of celebration.
The new citizens came from 43 countries ranging from Brazil and China to Ethiopia, Morocco, and Senegal. The diversity, the culture, and the perspective that each new citizen brings to our community continually strengthens our cities and our nation
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