White House Forum Seeks Input on Job Creation

By Eisbree, Amy | Nation's Cities Weekly, December 7, 2009 | Go to article overview

White House Forum Seeks Input on Job Creation


Eisbree, Amy, Nation's Cities Weekly


In the wake of an unemployment rate at 10 percent, the White House last week reached out to approximately 130 leaders from business, government, academia, labor and the nonprofit sector to seek input on the most effective ways to create jobs.

While President Obama emphasized that "true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector," he recognized the important role that local government can play in spurting investment in communities and sought out suggestions from cities by inviting five mayors from across the country to participate in the White House Forum on Jobs and Economic Growth.

"I want to hear about what mayors and community leaders can do to bring new investment to our cities and towns and help recovery dollars get to where they need to go as quickly as possible," said President Obama at the forum.

Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio, was among the mayors at the forum and, as reported by the San Antonio ExpressNews, highlighted several local government projects supported by federal funds that have put people to work, including the $140 million improvement of the U.S. 281-Loop 1604 interchange, improvements along the San Antonio River south of downtown and projects at Port San Antonio.

"One of the best investments the Administration can make is in local government projects," said Castro. "All of those are putting people to work."

In reaction to the discussion of a possible second stimulus package as a next step after the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed last spring, Ashley Swearengin, mayor of Fresno, Calif., stressed at the forum that if additional federal funding is provided it should be locally targeted so it doesn't get pulled away by state governments, reported the Fresno Bee.

David Bing, mayor of Detroit, also addressed the problem of stimulus money not getting to cities and local governments, according to a White House Press Pool Report of the forum. "We've got projects that are shovel ready," said Bing. "Our problem has been that the money has been going to the state and not to the city. And it's taking way too long to get the money from the state, coming down to the local governments. …

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