Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Ridge: Cities Will Get Local Dollars for Homeland Defense

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Ridge: Cities Will Get Local Dollars for Homeland Defense

Article excerpt

Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge came to the Congressional City Conference promising to work with local governments to get First Responder homeland security funds to the local level and seeking feedback on the new Homeland Security Advisory System.

"I truly believe that if the homeland is to be secure, and we're getting better and stronger everyday securing our homeland, that the best way to achieve that national goal is to make sure that every hometown is secure and if we secure every hometown, then our homeland will be secure," he said during a general session of the conference.

Ridge emphasized the need for a national strategy for homeland security that includes collaboration and coordination all levels of government.

Ridge discussed the First Responders Initiative in President Bush's budget, stressing the administration's intent for 75 percent of the $3.5 billion to go to localities with the other 25 percent going to the states. He asked for cities' support in having the Federal Emergency Management Agency being the federal entity taking charge of the initiative.

Ridge said the administration, Congress and localities should work together to make sure that local governments receive the First Responder funds.

"As we send the recommendation to the Hill we very specifically delineated the notion that 75 percent of that has to get down to the local communities, to the counties and the parishes and the cities," he said. …

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