Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Rallying Support for Parks and Recreation Funding: Meet the Allies of Parks and Recreation in the 112th Congress

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Rallying Support for Parks and Recreation Funding: Meet the Allies of Parks and Recreation in the 112th Congress

Article excerpt

AS CONGRESS PREPARES TO DEBATE AND NEGOTIATE a federal budget for Fiscal Year 2012, no federal funding is completely safe from the threat of budget cuts. Programs that fund parks and recreation will also need to be vigorously defended in Congress over the coming year if funding is to be preserved and expanded.

Throughout these debates, advocates throughout the country will call upon members of Congress to renew their support for vital initiatives like the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Stateside program, the Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, and the Healthy Communities program, all of which provide significant financial support for local park and recreation systems. Particularly crucial to securing this funding will be strong continuing leadership from those members who have been champions for local park and recreation resources throughout their career, a politically diverse group that includes Democrats and Republicans in both chambers. It is this core of supporters who will need to be mobilized in support of local park and recreation programs in the 112th Congress.

Who are these Congressional allies?

Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) has been a stout and consistent supporter of local parks and recreational funding and has called the LWCF Stateside program "one of the most successful federal-state-local partnership programs in the history of the Department of the Interior." Over the past several years, McGovern has launched repeated legislative attempts to ensure that the Stateside program secures its fair share of funding and he is likely to be once again at the forefront of discussions about the vital role of federal funding for parks and recreation in the ll2th Congress. However his support parks and recreation is much broader than just the LWCF Stateside program. Most recently, McGovern led efforts for a "Dear Colleague" letter sent to Secretary Sebelius at the Department of Health and Human Services, urging the Secretary to maintain funding for the Healthy Communities program in FY 11 and FY 12. The Healthy Communities program provides modest funding to communities of all sizes. The funding is used to bring together stakeholders within the community to plan and implement strategies that address the health issues most relevant to individual communities.

A member of the powerful House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, which sets federal funding levels for the LWCF Stateside program among other park and recreation priorities, Representative Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) is positioned to become one of the most influential supporters for local park and recreational funding in the 112th Congress. In the 111th Congress, Lummis joined with McGovern and Representatives Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to lead a bipartisan effort to obtain full funding for the LWCF Stateside program. Lummis was the winner of NRPA's 2010 Congressional Award, and as a strong voice for preserving federal funding for local park and recreation systems, she will bring a much-needed perspective to funding debates within the Interior Subcommittee.

Representative Courtney's support for parks and recreation has gone beyond LWCF as he was an influential voice for the inclusion of parks and recreation agencies as eligible grant entities in the No Child Left Inside legislation during the 110th Congress. …

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