Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Flint Mayor: American Jobs Act Will Help Long-Term Economic Growth

    Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said that the American Jobs Act is crucial to our country’s long-term economic growth. “We have to have education, we have to have safe communities, we have to have small businesses that are growing, exporting, creating jobs,” he said.

    The American Jobs Act addresses all these issues. It will help retain and hire hundreds of thousands of teachers, keep first responders on the job, and invest in small businesses across the country.

    See what other mayors are saying about the American Jobs Act.

    Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, California
    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Maryland
    Mayor Michael Hancock of Denver, Colorado
    Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, Kentucky
    Mayor Sly James of Kansas City
    Mayor Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Ohio
    Mayor Phil Gordon of Phoenix, Arizona

  • State Representative Pricey Harrison: Up To 13,400 Teacher Jobs for North Carolina

    The President has been traveling across the country to show how the American Jobs Act will help modernize our schools, rebuild our infrastructure, and put Americans back to work. Earlier this week, the President visited Jamestown, NC as a part of his three-day American Jobs Act bus tour.

    North Carolina State Representative Pricey Harrison reflects on the President’s remarks in Jamestown, and explains how the American Jobs Act will create jobs in North Carolina and throughout the nation:

    I spent  part of Tuesday with President Obama as he met with and spoke to teachers, students, staff, and other citizens of Guilford County while in Jamestown on the campus of Guilford Technical Community College. The President was there to promote the American Jobs Act, which is projected to create  more than 2 million jobs nationwide and help rebuild our middle class and an economy that works for all of us.

    The Piedmont Triad has been hit particularly hard by the loss of tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs over the past decade and this year's state budget did further damage to the state's economy by making cuts that will result in  a net loss of more than 30,000 jobs statewide over the next two years. These job losses have been felt hardest in the education sector, where  2,418 jobs were cut this school year (and more than 9,200 since 2008), primarily teachers and teachers assistants.

    The President's plan would do much to help our state and our country recover from the extended recession.  The plan proposes to invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers nationwide, while supporting the hiring of tens of thousands more and keeping police officers and firefighters on the job. These  funds will provide over $900 million  to North Carolina to support up to 13,400 educator jobs. .

    The plan also provides  a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure, over $675 million of which would be available to North Carolina to support as many as 8,800 jobs.

     The President also spoke about  how his plan is fully paid for.  He emphasized how the wealthiest among us should pay their fair share .

     It is time to pass the American Jobs Act.

  • Mayors Support John Bryson for Commerce Secretary

    At a time when the nation is focused on jobs, we need a Commerce Secretary who knows American business - a leader who has led a company through crisis, created jobs and has a firsthand understanding of the challenges facing US companies.  And that's exactly the experience that President Obama's nominee John Bryson has. 

    Mayor Bob Foster of Long Beach, California says of his friend John Bryson:

    "John Bryson is an excellent choice for Secretary of Commerce.  I have known John for more than 30 years as a person of impeccable integrity with a strong sense of public service.  

    John and I worked together at Edison International.  He was a unique CEO at Edison in that he always made sure business success did not mean a disregard for the environment or social progress.  Under his leadership, Edison developed the largest portfolio of renewable energy in the country and made energy efficiency as one of its top priorities.  It’s an unusual business practice for a company to spend millions on reducing the use of its product, but John understood that it was in the best interest for customers, California, and the company to reduce electrical use.  His strong sense of social purpose helped Edison become an environmental leader with a worldwide reputation.

    John is the kind of person you need in business today.  He understands the need for profit but he also knows that success should include environmental sustainability and good corporate citizenship."

    In addition, the U.S. Conference of Mayors spoke out about John Bryson, urging his confirmation in a letter to Senate leaders:

    "Mr. Bryson brings a wealth of experience from both the public and private sectors that will help create jobs and make America more competitive in the global economy. Most importantly, he knows that the private sector is the engine for job creation. As local leaders, we know that John Bryson can encourage economic growth, help provide jobs for our residents, and forge a direct connection with Mayors and the needs of our cities. He knows how to get the job done with fewer resources. He knows how to manage and lead under pressure. He is the ideal candidate to become Commerce Secretary."

    You can read more from voices ranging from the COO of Facebook to the former Treasury Secretary John Snow on why John Bryson should be our next Commerce Secretary.

  • Ohio Mayors Urge Action on American Jobs Act

    On Thursday, a bi-partisan group of 23 mayors from cities across Ohio sent a letter to the Ohio Congressional delegation urging action on the American Jobs Act to put Ohioans back to work:

    As Mayors serving in the great State of Ohio, we ask you to work with urgency to pass the American Jobs Act. The Act will help Ohio’s cities and its citizens.

    Only a few weeks ago, The Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services announced that the statewide unemployment rate for August was up again to 9.1%. That means that more than half a million Ohioans are out of work. Without proactive steps from our federal leaders, those numbers will only get worse.

    The American Jobs Act provides $5 billion in funding to keep police officers and firefighters working. It will put Ohioans to work rehabbing distressed homes, small business, and schools. It helps employ people with a history of service, like veterans and teachers. The Act invests in cities by investing heavily in transportation infrastructure; putting Ohioans to work building roads, bridges and trains. It also provides much needed assistance to the long-term unemployed, helping them end the frustrating process of searching for a job. And, the American Jobs Act will help every Ohio worker by creating a tax cut of $1500 for the typical family.

    Ohioans want to go back to work. Ohioans want to be a part of a stronger economy. The American Jobs Act is the right plan. Please act quickly to pass The American Jobs Act.

  • Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon: The American Jobs Act Will Prepare Our Students for the Jobs of Tomorrow

    Today, President Obama visited Eastfield College, a community college in Mesquite, Texas, where he delivered remarks urging Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to keep teachers in the classroom and rebuild schools across our nation.

    Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon reflects on her recent tour of community colleges in her state, and how the American Jobs Act will help strengthen schools and prepare students for future jobs across the nation.

    When President Obama spoke about how the the American Jobs Act would help modernize our nation's community colleges, I immediately thought of two respiratory therapy students I met this week in Chicago. They lauded their school for having high-tech equipment used in a hospital setting, but said their computer-based lessons didn’t always work. The wireless internet connection was too spotty in their classrooms.

    As Lt. Governor in President Obama’s home state of Illinois, I serve as the Governor’s point person on education reform. This year, I made it my mission to visit our 48 community colleges, from the biggest schools in the cities to the smallest schools on rural roads. I am learning what schools are doing to help more students attain a meaningful college certificate or degree, and what policymakers can do to ensure we train the best educated workforce in the country and in the world.

    The tour confirmed what I've learned from my husband's 20 years of community college teaching. Community colleges are where it’s at -- in terms of accessibility, affordability and flexibility. They open their doors to people from all sorts of backgrounds and provide job training, two-year degrees and transfer credits at less than half the cost of universities. What is really special about these institutions is their relationships with local employers and their responsiveness to changes in our economy.

    I have visited community colleges that installed wind turbines to provide clean energy for their campuses and training for the future workforce. Each semester, students can take apart, rebuild and maintain the turbines, skills they can translate directly to the expanding renewable energy field. And I’m impressed by the number of schools that can boast about 100 percent placement in nursing, welding, diesel mechanics and other skilled jobs here in Illinois, at a time when so many people are facing layoffs in other professions.

    But the overwhelming message I receive from community colleges is that they can do even more. Many of our two-year colleges were built during the 1960s and 1970s and are in need of upgrades to train workers for jobs in 2011 and beyond. To build green energy programs, schools need money to invest in wind turbines and solar panels. To meet the demand for medical technician and nursing shortages, schools need to have the equipment being used in hospitals and clinics.

    The American Jobs Act would commit $5 billion to repair and modernize community colleges. The money would pay for major classroom renovations, from plumbing upgrades to refurbishing science labs to increasing wireless access for students. It would fill a gap in our state resources and ensure these important institutions keep pace with the needs of employers. Regardless of our politics, we can agree on one thing: our workforce needs to be ready for the new economy. That is why I support the American Jobs Act. It will create construction and maintenance jobs now, and prepare our students for the jobs of tomorrow. Let’s work together to pass it today.

    Jewel James is the Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • Mayors and Cabinet Officials Join to Talk Jobs

    Cabaldon and Vilsack Press Conference

    West Sacramento Mayor Chris Cabaldon speaks at an event with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, September 26, 2011. (Photo by NRCS California – US Department of Agriculture) October 4, 2011.

    Over the last month, a number of Cabinet Secretaries and mayors came together to talk about how the American Jobs Act would help communities across the country. Below are just a few of the many events from last week where local officials joined the Administration in calling for action to spur job creation immediately:

    West Sacramento

    On Monday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon visited the Port of West Sacramento to talk about how the American Jobs Act would create jobs and strengthen California’s economy. In California, the Act would provide a tax cut for over 710,000 businesses, support the jobs of 37,300 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 51,500 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure.


    On Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis held a press conference at a bridge in downtown Minneapolis to discuss how the American Jobs Act payroll tax cuts and hiring incentives could lead to creating 1.9 million jobs as the country's infrastructure is repaired. In Minnesota, the Jobs Act would make immediate investments in highway and transit modernization of at least $600 million to support approximately 7,900 local jobs.


    On Thursday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was joined by Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport where Secretary Vilsack announced five major agricultural research projects, including awards to universities in Washington, aimed at developing regional, renewable energy markets, generating rural jobs, and decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil. Secretary Vilsack and Mayor McGinn also spoke about how passing the American Jobs Act could give the typical Washington state household a tax cut of approximately $1,860 by expanding the payroll tax cut.


    On Friday, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk joined Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter for a visit to Superfit, Inc., a jewelry manufacturer in downtown Philadelphia. Superfit, Inc., which is owned and operated by Gena Alulis recently relocated its headquarters to downtown Philadelphia, where the company was able to expand production and hire additional employees. The American Jobs Act would provide a small business tax cut to Ms. Alulis, which will allow her to bring on even more workers.


    On Friday, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett joined Secretary Hilda Solis at a turbine construction site at the Jones Island wastewater plant to talk about how the American Jobs Act would invest $575 million in high-priority transportation projects throughout Wisconsin, including more than 1,100 bridges in need of repair. The transportation spending alone would help return 7,500 of the state's unemployed laborers to work