Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog
- Posted byon March 1, 2012 at 12:23 PM EDT
On a cold Tuesday morning, Mrs. Darlene White-Dottin’s first grade class arrived at school at 4:30 in the morning. However, these students from Orchard Gardens School in Boston, MA weren’t arriving early to hit the books; they were about to begin an once-in-a-lifetime field trip to Washington, D.C. The class was going to recite Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech for President Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick at the White House.
Showing no signs of exhaustion, the students enthusiastically recited Dr. King’s speech and conveyed the powerful meaning of his teachings by describing to the President what the words meant to them.
- Posted byon February 27, 2012 at 6:35 PM EDT
Today, President Obama challenged state governors to make sure all students in their schools today get the education and skills they need to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
A majority of states will spend less on elementary and secondary schools in 2012 than they did last year, and more than 40 states cut higher education spending in 2011 — cuts that lead to higher tuition prices in our public colleges and universities.
But when our economy is struggling, the last place to make cuts is in education. Making sure that every student in our country graduates from high school prepared for college and a successful career is central to rebuilding our economy and securing a brighter future. And when students go on to pursue higher education, we should make sure they are able to pay for it.
“Nothing more clearly signals what you value as a state as the decisions you make about where to invest,” President Obama told governors. “Budgets are about choices, so today I’m calling on you to choose to invest more in teachers, invest more in education, and invest more in our children and their future.”
- Posted byon February 27, 2012 at 6:30 PM EDT
Earlier this morning, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden addressed the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting, the annual meeting that brings state leaders to Washington, D.C. to discuss important issues impacting all Americans.
Today, the First Lady and Dr Biden had one message for the governors: urging them to take action on the state level to support America’s military spouses.
In their travels to military bases across America and throughout the world over the last three years, the First Lady and Dr. Biden have heard stories from countless military family members and spouses. One of the top issues they hear about everywhere they go deals with the professional licensing requirements that affect how military spouses can move forward in their careers.
Less than two weeks ago, the First Lady and Dr. Biden joined the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and all of the Joint Chiefs in rolling out a new report on state licensing.
This is an enormous issue for military spouses throughout this country. There are more than 100,000 military spouses who serve in the dozens of professions that require a state license or credential – teachers, nurses, childcare providers, dental hygienists, real estate brokers, speech pathologists and many other professionals. Each move to a new state can mean different credentialing or licensing standards – a process that can sometimes take months to resolve.
- Posted byon February 24, 2012 at 7:35 PM EDT
Throughout today and the rest of the weekend, President Obama will be meeting with governors from around the country. Today, he met with Democratic governors and talked about ways the federal government and the states can work together to create jobs and grow the economy. In particular, the President talked about ways to accelerate the growing trend of ‘insourcing’ – where companies are bringing jobs back to the United States and making additional investments here in America. The President’s conversation with governors about how we can work together to put Americans back to work and build an economy built to last will continue with a larger, bipartisan group of governors Monday.
Last year, around this time – along with similar meetings with governors – the President instructed agencies to work closely with State, local, and tribal governments to identify any Federal barriers that prevent efficient use of taxpayer dollars to achieve the best results.
- Posted byon February 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM EDT
On Saturday, Grand Rapids, Michigan Mayor George Heartwell explained in the Grand Rapids Press why President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget is good for cities and good for America. Read an excerpt from Mayor Heartwell and check out the full article online.
"It behooves all Americans to ensure that our cities thrive. Do you drive on our city streets and cross our local bridges? You know how important great infrastructure is. Do you hire the graduates of our urban public schools? You know how important quality education is. Do you care about the 36.7 percent of our Grand Rapids children who live in poverty? You know the importance of stable, affordable housing and employment training to reducing poverty.
In any annual American budget, you find what matters most to us as a people. You see the things we value. You catch a glimpse of our aspirations as a nation.
The Obama budget is fair, equitable, compassionate and prudent. These are values I subscribe to. These are the values that make us great."
You can find the complete Fiscal Year 2013 budget online and check out a fact sheet on how the budget will impact cities and metropolitan areas across the country.
- Posted byon February 10, 2012 at 4:10 PM EDT
On Thursday, the Federal Government and 49 states announced a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. The agreement provides substantial financial relief to homeowners and establishes significant new homeowner protections for the future. Several Attorneys General joined the Obama Administration for the announcement and shared their thoughts on the landmark agreement.
Attorney General of Arkansas, Dustin McDaniel
"This settlement will provide tangible benefits to struggling Arkansas homeowners in the form of principal write-downs and refinancing opportunities. This is an important means for holding the banks accountable for their bad behavior during the mortgage crisis.”
Attorney General of Colorado, John Suthers
“This agreement delivers real help to homeowners affected by the banks’ dual tracking and other improper mortgage- and foreclosure-related processes. As a result of this settlement, the banks will end a series of problematic processes that put homeowners at a severe disadvantage during the foreclosure process. This settlement will not solve every problem with the housing market, but it goes a long way to helping homeowners in distress now and leveling the playing field for consumers.”
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