Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Kansas City Mayor Pro Tem Circo and Councilman Brooks Visit with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki

    Recently, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki visited Kansas City, Missouri to tour the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  While there, he met with Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo and Councilman Michael Brooks along with veterans and members of the audiology profession.  Afterwards, Circo and Brooks shared their views:

    As members of the City Council we greatly valued this opportunity since it allowed Kansas City to highlight its Veteran Affairs Cochlear Implant Clinic. This program has had a tremendous impact on veterans in the region in just the short amount of time it has been operating.
     
    The event was at the Veterans Affairs Cochlear Implant Clinic and  it was great to hear Secretary Shinseki expand the discussion and talk about the White House’s plans for supporting veterans. Secretary Shinseki’s compassion for the men and women who have served this country was very evident when he spoke. The Obama administration has demonstrated that they care about veterans.
     
    Here in Kansas City we are extremely pleased about the White House’s renewed focus on supporting the employment of veterans both regionally and nationally through the proposed Veterans Jobs Corps. Once passed by Congress we believe that it will greatly aid more veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan by employing up to 20,000 veterans during the next five years.

  • Department of Transportation Announces 2012 TIGER Grant Awards

    On Friday, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded nearly $500 million of Transportation Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds to 47 transportation projects in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

    State and local officials across the country described the significant impact these grants will have in their communities:

    "Thanks to the President Obama and Secretary LaHood, Sacramento will continue to transform our Rail yards and build upon the efforts of so many to make us known as a City that delivers on job creation, economic development and big transportation and infrastructure projects,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento.

    “Our partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation and rail companies allows us to strengthen Illinois’ position as a national transportation leader,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn explained the impact the TIGER program will have on his city: "We will complete the River walk, which is 20 years in the making." He continued, "Downtown Tampa will be a vastly different place as a result."

    Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom pointed out that in California, TIGER funds are helping by “revitalizing an entire sector of San Francisco and creating jobs. The TIGER grant for this project will build on state and local investment to support this important infrastructure.”

    “These transit improvements are exactly the sort of job-creating transportation infrastructure investments that President Obama talked about in his State of the Union address and this TIGER IV award will help create the centerpiece of the 10 ½ acre privately-funded EastSide III redevelopment, bringing more jobs and residents to the area,” said Mayor Luke Ravenstahl of Pittsburgh.

    Find additional information on TIGER grants and more at dot.gov.

    David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.

  • Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte: Hiring Veterans Just Makes Sense

    Soldiers In Korea Listen to President Obama

    The crowd listens as President Barack Obama delivers remarks to mark Veterans Day at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul, Korea, Nov. 11, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama has called on Congress to act on a concrete plan which creates jobs and helps restore middle class security.  This plan, or Congress’ “To-Do List,” includes items like tax cuts for small businesses, and assistance to responsible homeowners – in other words, the kinds of priorities that Republicans and Democrats have worked together on in the past and should be able to work together on to help the economy and support the middle class.

    Another common sense component of the “To-Do List” is helping our veterans find jobs. That’s why just last month, President Obama traveled to the Honeywell Golden Valley facility in Minnesota where he highlighted the need to honor our commitment to returning veterans by passing legislation which creates a Veterans Jobs Corps.  The Jobs Corps would honor our commitment to returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans by helping them obtain jobs as cops and firefighters and in other fields serving their communities.

    Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte shares the President’s belief that we must help those who have bravely served our Nation and that by doing so we will build a stronger middle class and a better America.  That’s why she recently had this to say in an op-ed which ran in the El Paso Times, San Antonio Express-News, and the Austin Business Journal among others:

    Texas businesses would be well served by the unique combination of experiences veterans gained while serving our country. Veterans who move on to private-sector employment consistently demonstrate leadership, teamwork, loyalty and the highly valued ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

    In addition, our armed services employ personnel managers, finance analysts and thousands of other positions important to the success of all nonmilitary, private-sector industries.

  • IGA Welcomes New Deputy Director Jay Williams

    We are pleased to announce Jay Williams as the new Deputy Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In this role, Jay will lead our local engagement with mayors, county and municipal officials across the country.

    Prior to joining the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Jay was the executive director of the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers, working with state and local stakeholders in areas affected by the changing American automotive industry to ensure that they receive the federal support necessary to help them create a more stable, prosperous economy.  By all accounts, Jay’s work with mayors in this important post was exemplary.

    Before joining the Obama Administration, Jay served as the Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio from 2006 to 2011, where he led a number of efforts to improve the economy and quality of life for the citizens of Youngstown.  I had the great pleasure of working directly with Jay when he was Mayor of Youngstown, and I know he will bring an exceptional set of skills, honed through his work at the community level, to our work with America’s local governments.  We look forward to continuing our work to engage local officials in the work of this White House and the federal government.

    David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Iowa State Representative Dan Kelley: Investing in America's Future

    President Barack Obama at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility (May 24, 2012)

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks urging Congress to act on the “To Do List” and highlighting the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation, at TPI Composites Iowa’s wind turbine blade facility in Newton, Iowa, May 24, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Last week, President Barack Obama visited TPI Composites, a wind manufacturer in Newton, Iowa. In Newton, he highlighted the need to invest in clean energy by passing legislation that will extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC) to support American jobs and manufacturing in the wind industry alongside an expansion of the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit that supports American-made clean energy manufacturing.

    Iowa State Representative Dan Kelley, who represents Newton, reflects on the President’s visit and how clean energy jobs have impacted Newton: 

    As President Obama spoke yesterday, I took a good look around the room.  I saw friends and neighbors since childhood.   Listening intently were families that have built quality products for generations.  A few rows back, I saw a local community college graduate excited about his new welding job.   And at the front of the audience, I saw a 90 year-old veteran proud to see the Commander-in-Chief visit our town.  It was an uplifting day for Newton.

  • Celebrating the One Year Anniversary of Let’s Move! in Indian Country

    First Lady Plants Garden with Native American Children

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a Garden Harvest Event with children and members of the American Indian community, in the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn of the White House, June 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

    Over the past year Let’s Move! in Indian Country has worked with stakeholders across the country to help connect communities, schools and tribal leader to resources, funding, trainings and programs that will help improve the health of the next generation.  As a key component of the First Lady’s comprehensive initiative Let’s Move!, the Let’s Move! in Indian Country program focuses on the unique hurdles that American Indian and Alaska Native youth must overcome to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  In the first year, we have seen considerable progress and the First Lady and the Administration remain committed to building towards the ultimate goal of ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation. 

    In order to recognize this progress and the great work of leaders across Indian Country, the White House will host a panel discussion of individuals whose work has helped build a healthier future American Indian and Alaska Native youth in one or more of the four pillars of Let’s Move! in Indian Country: