Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • 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:

  • A Revolution in Planning

    It used to be that HUD would require more than 1,200 cities, counties and states to undergo a paper-based, time-intensive and costly planning process as a condition of receiving billions of dollars in federal funding. All of this changed on May 7, when the Office of Community Planning and Development at HUD launched the eCon Planning Suite, a set of tools using 21st Century data and technology to help communities make sure scarce federal dollars are targeted to where they are needed most and can achieve the biggest impact.  And on top of that, it’s estimated that this new approach will save state and local communities at least 65,000 staff hours each year and thousands of dollars in consultant fees.

    These new 21st Century tools will support communities in need-driven, place-based decision-making that will improve community and economic development outcomes – in short, targeting federal funds to the places that need it most.

    HUD Planning Demonstration

    Assistant Secretary Márquez demonstrates the eCon Planning Suite to community partners in Houston (Photo courtesy of HUD).

    HUD’s new approach to planning will also empower the public in a way we’ve never been able to before.  Imagine, anyone can log on to a new mapping tool (we call it CPD Maps) and see precisely where the need is in their neighborhoods, where investments have been made, and be more informed when they argue for their vision of where federal tax dollars ought to be targeted.  This is democracy in data!

  • State Treasurers: Empowering Americans to Make Smart Financial Decisions

    Last week, the White House convened a Summit on Financial Capability and Empowerment to draw attention to the importance of financial education for all Americans.  Maryland State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, who sits on her state’s Coalition for Financial Literacy, moderated a panel that highlighted the work of community leaders.  Treasurer Kopp noted after the summit that, “schools, financial institutions and community groups all have the responsibility to improve financial literacy not only among our children but also families engaged in family budgeting, college savings and retirement.  Awareness certainly is important, but so are practical ways to ensure a stable financial foundation for all American families."

    Treasurer Kopp isn’t alone in this effort.  Rhode Island State Treasurer Gina Raimondo recently visited North Providence High School to mark the expansion of EverFi, Rhode Island’s web-based financial literacy program.  EverFi is used in 19 Rhode Island high schools and will soon spread to another 25 campuses.  This program is helping people build a sound economic foundation at an early age.   "Financial empowerment remains one of my top priorities and is critical to the preparedness and success of Rhode Island's high school students," Raimondo said

    Under Delaware State Treasurer Chip Flowers’ leadership, Delaware has created an Economic Index, which summarizes key state and national economic data in a clear and coherent way so that Delawareans can better understand their state’s finances.  Flowers’ office also issues a monthly Prosperity Portal which provides financial education resources for everyone from young adults and families to small businesses.  Attending college, caring for the elderly, getting married, and so many other key life moments can bring on great financial challenges.  That’s why Flowers’ office, like so many others, provides these types of helpful resources.