Saturday, June 16, 2012

Joe Biden calls for metropolitan mayors to act

     Vice President Joe Biden conveyed impassioned pleas of political cooperation as he spoke to a large gathering of mayors from across the nation in Orlando on Friday, June 15. Discussing the topics universally faced by an economically strained nation was just one of the key focal points of the 80th annual United States Conference of Mayors.

     “If we act now, we can help millions of people out of the God-awful situation they find themselves in,” Biden said during his speech.

     The problems faced by
Americans he mentions, are economic hardships and devastating losses in the job market that are keeping a much-needed recovery from being realized. Many of the mayors in attendance have governed through the recession that has so ill-affected the U.S and overall global economy since 2008.

     The loss of over nine million jobs and 40
percent reduction in household worth in America has nearly become a full-blown depression with a mediocre recovery in recent years. The challenges faced by the mayors of America are all the same when it comes to providing stability to their local government and providing goods and services to their citizens.

     Because the mayors in attendance all represent cities with large populations, they often find themselves providing services to individuals that aren’t residents, like providing health care, police and fire service. This puts an even higher burden on large cities and justifies the need to receive comparable support from the federal government with effective block grants and other programs.

     The topic of local government looking out for what’s best was used by Biden to demonstrate their strength and resourcefulness during hard times. The plea was made by Biden to help the American people by encouraging Congress to pass legislation the Obama administration states will save trillions of dollars and put millions back to work through the Americans Jobs Act.

Some members of Congress have worked against the Obama administration to stop the "Jobs Act" and other legislation because they feel it’s not what’s best for the country and don’t agree with raising taxes. Biden admits it isn’t easy and the Democrats are willing to compromise, but now worries they just want to work against the president so he can’t get reelected.

     “Regardless of which party you belong to, I think all of us in this room understand that some things are bigger than the party,” said Biden.

     The simple notion that we need functional roads and infrastructure to thrive as a nation is one of these common sense issues. Biden demands Congress pass the Transportation Bill as soon as possible and asked the mayors to help, a notion which received vigorous applause when mentioned.

     “They are saying now that if this doesn’t get done, it will be a thousand days we have gone without a transportation bill,” said Ardell Brede, mayor of Rochester, Minnesota. As mayor for over 10 years Brede has seen first hand much of the economic issues being discussed at this conference.

     “This event gives an opportunity to show mayors from around the country what the city of Orlando has to offer,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

     Aside from the legislative call to action, this entire conference gave Orlando the chance to share the city with political players from around the nation. Many of the mayors in attendance frequented several locations throughout their stay including downtown, which
some have never personally visited before.

     Dyer also noted that the mayors in attendance represent cities with large populations and “a majority of Americans live in major cities, so we are where the rubber meets the road.”

     In an election year, the issues on this road run directly to the White House.

By James Tutten
(Published: June 20, 2012 issue of "Valencia Voice" on page 3.)
(All photos by James Tutten)

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer speak  before Vice President Joe Biden's speech.


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