Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • San Francisco and Baltimore Mayors Put Service on the Line for Super Sunday

    Ed note: a version of this post was first published on serve.gov, the official site of the Corporation for National and Community Service. You can read the original post here.

    Today is game day, and as the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers get ready to take the field, the mayors from those cities are taking a different approach to the traditional, friendly wager. This year, the focus will be on volunteering and community service.

    San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake have agreed that the winning mayor would host the mayor from the opposing team for a day of volunteer service with AmeriCorps members. This service project will be done in partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency that administers AmeriCorps. (Click here to watch a video announcing the challenge on the "Today Show.")

    The mayors' friendly wager further elevates the role of community service within the Super Bowl's activities. As part of the official events, the Super Bowl Host Committee also hosted a community service effort yesterday, Super Saturday of Service, in which local volunteers revitalized five New Orleans playgrounds. AmeriCorps members serving with Habitat for Humanity New Orleans and Habitat for Humanity Baton Rouge participated. AmeriCorps members also took part in service activities organized by Rebuilding Together.

  • State and Local Officials Across the Country Urge Action to Fix the Nation’s Broken Immigration System

     

    President Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Jan. 29, 2013

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, Nev., Jan. 29, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

     
    On Tuesday, President Obama traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to speak about the need to fix the nation’s broken immigration system and his commonsense reform proposal. Following the speech, bipartisan state and local elected officials across the country spoke out about the President’s remarks and urged swift action. 
     
     
     
    "Far too often the burdens of this broken system fall on local governments, and failure to act on this issue is increasingly detrimental to the livelihood of our cities and towns. Comprehensive immigration reform will provide municipal leaders the critical support necessary to integrate immigrants into our communities, and allow them to contribute both economically and culturally to our wonderful, diverse nation.”
     
     
    Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith:
     
    "I thank the President for starting the formal consideration of immigration reform by laying out his vision and principles.  This is an important economic and social issue that has languished unresolved for too long. Now is the time for Washington to come together and take action."
     
     
    Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick:
     
    “For a long time now we have needed comprehensive reform of our immigration laws, both to fix a broken system and to affirm American values.  I congratulate the President on proposing such a fix, and am heartened by the bipartisan interest in the Congress in prompt action.”
     
     
    El Paso, Texas Mayor John Cook:
     
    “As the mayor of a border community and founder of the U.S.-Mexico Border Mayors Association, I am encouraged that the Congress seems prepared to follow the President’s lead and tackle comprehensive immigration reform.” 
     
     
    Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller:
     
    “Our nation’s federal immigration laws and policies are broken, and an overhaul is long overdue.  I support President Obama’s leadership in trying to reform our nation’s immigration system.  The President’s comprehensive proposal secures our borders, provides a clear path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants who act responsibly, and holds businesses accountable when they hire people who aren’t here legally.”
     
     
    Fresno, California Mayor Ashley Swearengin, who attended the President’s speech:
     
    "Today, the President put a spotlight on the critical issue of immigration reform.  In the Fresno Region, we experience firsthand the impacts that a broken immigration system has on our regional economy.  Our farmers suffer when they don't have a reliable workforce, and when our farmers suffer, we feel it in the City of Fresno. We are grateful the President and our nation's leaders are taking up this issue and are committed to helping find solutions to this complicated issue."
     
     
     
    “Today's immigration speech by President Obama, coming on the heels of yesterday's announcement of bipartisan agreement on reform principles by the Senate ‘Gang of Eight,’ shows that there is broad support to modernize our immigration system in a way that helps grow our economy and attract the world’s most talented and hardest-working.”
     
     
    California Speaker of the Assembly John Perez, who attended the President's speech:
     
    “This must be the year that we address one of the critical issues facing California and the rest of the nation. I believe the President’s leadership, alongside the bipartisan proposal unveiled in the United States Senate yesterday, sets the stage for a productive and successful effort to pass and implement comprehensive immigration reform.”
     
     
    Atlanta, Georgia Mayor Kasim Reed, who attended the President’s speech:
     
    “There is no doubt that the economic, social and cultural contributions of immigrants continue to enrich our cities and communities. We cannot ever forget that immigrants have helped make our nation stronger. This is an issue of great importance here in Georgia, and as such, I support President Barack Obama’s proposal to achieve meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform.”
     
     
     
    “The President’s proposals will allow the individuals we train in our world-class institutions to develop new technologies and create jobs in our own country rather than overseas. They will allow families to stay together and millions of our neighbors to step out of the shadows and into active roles in our communities.”
     
     
     
    “President Obama’s immigration-reform proposal today pulls everyone who can contribute to our success out the shadows and gives them a chance to work and to play by the same rules as everybody else. His plan lays the essential groundwork for our economic success and the future of the American Dream, not only in Minneapolis but in every corner of our country.”
     
     
     
    “We have a historic opportunity to get reform right, and it is vital that we do not fail.  Legislation must include a clear pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented individuals currently living in the shadows. That path should be a fair process, not a punishment.”
     
     
     
    “Immigrants and their families play a vital role in this country, and their full integration into the fabric of our civic life will help ensure our nation and its economy thrives for years to come.  We applaud the President and the U.S. Senate for making progress on this issue and ask Congress to act on a bipartisan legislative solution to the nation’s broken immigration system.”
     
     
    Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx:
     
    “The President reminded us today that nearly all Americans come from someplace else and, in one generation or other, lived the immigrant story.   In fact, these millions of stories over hundreds of years make up an essential part of the American Dream.  For that reason and because we have so much economic potential languishing under our broken immigration system, the President is right: we can no longer afford to sweep this issue under the rug.  The time to act is now."  
     
     
     
    “Immigration reform in our nation is long overdue, and I applaud President Obama for his comprehensive plan to fix our broken immigration system. This plan will strengthen border security while providing a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States. Most importantly, it will keep families together.”
     
     
     
    “Today our elected leaders in Washington took an important step towards fixing a broken immigration system that has slowed the economic and social progress of our nation and its people for far too long.”
     
     
    You can read the President’s full remarks and check out a fact sheet of the President’s proposal. 
     

  • Obama Administration Talks Jobs, Safety with Nation's Mayors

    During the U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting in Washington, DC, mayors from across the country had a chance to hear from and share ideas with Vice President Joe Biden and officials from thirteen federal agencies including Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Attorney General Eric Holder, United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood,  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack .  

    Check out some of the pictures from throughout the week:

    • Vice President Biden Addresses Conference of Mayors

      Vice President Joe Biden addresses the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

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    • Secretary Vilsack speaks to USCM

      Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack takes questions during the United States Conference of Mayors Meeting. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)

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    • Secretary Solis Addresses USCM

      Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis speaks at the Advanced Manufacturing Task Force with Charlotte, NC Mayor Anthony Foxx. (Photo by Department of Labor)

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    • Secretary Duncan Addresses the USCM

      Secretary of Education Arne Duncan discusses preventing gun violence in the nation’s schools. (Photo by Department of Education)

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    • Secretary LaHood speaks to the USCM

      Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood speaks to the Transportation and Communications Committee. (Photo courtesy Dept. of Transportation)

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    • Secretary Sebelius Speaks to USCM

      Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius speaks to mayors. (Photo by Department of Health and Human Services)

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    • Ambassador Kirk speaks to the USCM

      U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk addresses the International Affairs Committee. (Photo by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative)

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    • Secretary Blank addresses USCM

      Department of Commerce Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank and Secretary Solis address the Advanced Manufacturing Task Force. (Photo by Dept. of Commerce)

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  • Building the Future: Innovative Water Infrastructure

    Note: This blog is cross-posted from the Council on Environmental Quality

    Today, more than 80 percent of Americans live, work, and raise their families in urban areas. At the same time, much of our infrastructure, including our water infrastructure, is decades old and in need of costly repairs. As former city officials, we appreciate how important it is for the Federal government to be a good partner, and that means making it easier for cities and towns to pursue the policies that make sense for their communities.

    This Administration has made smart infrastructure investment a priority, both to create jobs and to build a strong future for our cities. A lot of important work is also done at the local level, where decisions are made about building codes, local transportation options, and whether to invest in sustainable infrastructure. Communities value clean water, and a safe, healthy environment. So today, many cities are looking for more innovative, cost-effective approaches to managing their polluted storm water. Replacing concrete with porous pavement, employing green roofs and rain barrels, restoring creeks and wetlands, and increasing tree cover can help cities absorb rain water rather than funnel it to sewer systems. This kind of green infrastructure can also help beautify communities, make them more attractive to businesses and investors, and help them better withstand extreme weather. These projects are often much less expensive and less disruptive than building bigger or newer concrete storm water systems – something everyone can appreciate in a time of constrained resources.

    Cities of all sizes offer living proof. Green infrastructure is helping to manage polluted stormwater and sewer overflows and providing a range of benefits in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Syracuse, Seattle and Lancaster, PA. We’ve gathered input from city managers, mayors, and policy experts about how the Administration can be helpful in this effort, including at a White House Conference on Green Stormwater Infrastructure in September. Now, we’re bringing federal agencies together to align their resources to make it easier for municipalities to build and invest in green infrastructure.

  • White House Honors “Champions of Change” in City and County Innovation

    Local Innovation Champions of Change

    Thirteen Local Innovation Champions of Change were highlighted at a White House event, Sept. 25, 2012. (Photo by the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs) September 25, 2012.

    On Tuesday, the White House welcomed 13 Local Innovation Champions of Change from cities and counties across the country who have committed themselves to creating a more open and innovative government through entrepreneurship.

    Whether making local government information and public data more accessible; creating local environments to encourage and support entrepreneurs; or developing workforce programs to provide residents with skills for the high-tech economy, these Champions of Change have worked tirelessly to build a better future for the citizens they serve, create jobs in their community, and ensure more efficient and effective government. 

    As a result of their efforts, citizens across the country have access to a more transparent government, more opportunities for participation in the activities of their city or county, and tools that catalyze new types of collaboration between the public, private, non-profit, and citizen sectors of the local community. 

    All of the Champions honored on Tuesday showcased the amazing movement of innovation in government across America. In addition to celebrating success, the Champions of Change event provided a unique opportunity to share innovative city government products, services, and business models with other cities and discuss how to scale these innovations to others, challenging all cities across the nation to similar levels of improvement.

    Check out all 13 Local Innovation Champions recognized this week:

    Find out more about the Champions of Change program and nominate a future Champion.

  • Local Officials Join the First Lady at a Let’s Move! Cities, Towns & Counties Event in Philadelphia

    On Wednesday in Philadelphia, First Lady Michelle Obama joined local elected officials from across the country to announce new opportunities to bring Let’s Move! to cities, towns and counties across America. Since the initial launch of Let’s Move!, the First Lady has encouraged local solutions to solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. At the event, she announced opportunities for local elected officials to do just that through Let’s Move! Cities, Towns & Counties, an initiative that calls upon all local elected officials to work for changes that make their communities healthier.

    Some of the new opportunities include a new website, free resources, access to experts and tracking tools and maps from the National League of Cities with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support local elected officials in achieving the goals of Let’s Move! Cities, Towns & Counties.