Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Secretary Solis Calls on Local Leaders to Help Create Summer Job Opportunities

    On Wednesday, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis joined hundreds of local officials from across the country to talk about Summer Jobs+, a new call-to-action for businesses, non-profits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012.  

    As Secretary Solis noted, President Obama has been a champion and advocate for summer jobs since the beginning of his Administration, providing funding through the Recovery Act that funded summer jobs for 372,000 young people in 2009 and 2010.  In 2011, as part of the American Jobs Act, he proposed $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24 in the Pathways Back to Work fund. When Congress failed to act, the President took action and brought government and the private sector together with commitments to create nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer.

  • Why Every San Antonian Should Be Proud

    On January 24, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro was invited to join First Lady Michelle Obama to view the President’s State of the Union from the First Lady’s box. Mayor Castro shared his experience and his thoughts on the President’s Blueprint for an America Built to last in the San Antonio Express News:

    I have been asked in recent days why I was chosen to be a guest of the first lady at President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. I'm convinced it was because San Antonio exemplifies the vision that Obama laid out for America — a globally competitive business climate with a workforce that is trained and educated to be a leader in the 21st century global economy.

    For San Antonio and for our nation, the approach is paying off.

  • Mayors Celebrate White House Science Fair Participants

    Today, President Obama hosted the second White House Science Fair celebrating the student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country. The President also announced key additional steps that the Administration and its partners are taking to prepare 100,000 effective math and science teachers and to meet the urgent need to train one million additional STEM graduates over the next decade.

    Mayors from around the country wrote in to congratulate and celebrate the accomplishments of students representing their cities.

    Petersburg Science Fair Students

    Students from Petersburg, Indiana show off their White House Science Fair exhibit, February 7, 2012 (White House Photo) February 7, 2012.

    Petersburg, Indiana

    Jessica D’Esposito, Colton Newton and Anna Woolery from Petersburg, Indiana represented the Pike Central High School InvenTeam that won a grant from the Lemelson - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Program to develop a lightweight, portable disaster relief shelter, which could be used after disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, or tornadoes to house people who have been displaced.

    Petersburg Mayor Jon Craig: “We are continually amazed by the unbelievable accomplishments of our Pike Central High School, Project Lead The Way program.  Their inventive minds are unlimited in what they can accomplish.  These young adults are our community’s best asset and the key for our whole region in reducing brain drain and promoting entrepreneurship.” 

  • Administration Joins Local Officials to Create an America Built to Last

    Following the President’s State of the Union, Administration officials hit the road to talk about how the proposals in the President’s speech will help Americans across the country. At many stops, mayors joined the Administration to talk about the local impact of these proposals and make the case for an America built to last.
    Secretary LaHood Breaks Ground on Atlanta Streetcar

    Secretary Ray LaHood joins Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at the groundbreaking of a new streetcar line. (Photo by Creative Loafing Atlanta) February 2, 2012. (by Creative Loafing Atlanta)

    In Atlanta, Secretary Ray LaHood joined Mayor Kasim Reed for the groundbreaking of the new streetcar line in downtown Atlanta. This project was made possible by a 2010 TIGER grant and will provide accessible public transportation to downtown venues and be a catalyst for business growth in the areas it serves. In the State of the Union, the President called for more transportation investment and job creation through a 6-year transportation bill.

  • Scenes from the Conference of Mayors

    During the week of January 16, over 250 of the nation’s mayors traveled to Washington D.C. for the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting and events with President Obama and the Administration.

    On January 18, President Obama hosted the mayors at the White House for a reception with several members of his cabinet.

    President speaks to Villaraigosa

    President Barack Obama greets Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during a reception with U.S. Mayors at the White House, Jan. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

  • Helping America's Homeowners

    Gov. QuinnLast week, in his State of the Union address, the President laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last.  And on Wednesday, as part of that blueprint, President Obama called for action to help responsible borrowers and support a housing market recovery.  We in Illinois support the President’s efforts to jumpstart our housing market recovery.

    The President and I both know that we must focus on continuing to move our recovery forward, and housing is key to our continued economic growth. In Illinois, we’ve led a coordinated effort by many of our state agencies to support homeowners and aspiring homeowners. On Wednesday, in my State of the State address, I proposed a number of additional housing initiatives to promote affordable housing and help families facing foreclosure. Government cannot fix the housing crisis on its own, but we can help families access affordable housing and give them resources to avoid foreclosure. 

    For instance, we can make it a little easier for homeowners that receive a foreclosure notice. Earlier this week I announced the formation of the Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN). The IFPN is a web and hotline hub for all state and federal resources available to struggling homeowners – a one-stop-shop for counseling, legal assistance, mortgage relief and other tools to help families keep their homes.

    But we also need to develop new, affordable housing to help families starting out or starting over. I share President Obama’s goal of transitioning foreclosed properties into rental housing. This will create jobs, improve home prices, lower crime and stabilize neighborhoods. And today, we are announcing a new major housing initiative that will help return vacant properties to good use in Cook County. 

    The President is right: we can’t wait. These initiatives – outlined by the President in Falls Church, Virginia and that I proposed in Springfield, Illinois – can and will make a meaningful difference to struggling homeowners and keep families where they belong – at home. 

    The housing crisis has impacted us all – our families, our communities, and our economies – and, working together, we’ll help stabilize our housing market and keep our recovery going strong.  

    Pat Quinn is the Governor of the State of Illinois