Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Mayor Heartwell: Why the President’s Budget is Good for Cities

    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.

  • Why the Housing Settlement is Good News for Homeowners

    President Barack Obama delivers remark on a landmark housing agreement (February 9, 2012)

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing the finalization of a $26 billion settlement between mortgage providers, state attorneys general and the Justice Department, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Feb. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    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.”

  • 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.