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March 4, 2009 > Mayor participates in national conference

Mayor participates in national conference

By Monica Barbara

On Friday, February 20, 2009, Mayor Smith of Newark attended a meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USMC) at the White House in Washington, DC. The USMC is a nonpartisan organization of cities with populations over 30,000. Mayor Smith was one of 80 mayors in attendance at the meeting whose participants were initially addressed by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President. Jarrett then convened five cabinet members to meet with the mayors: Shaun L.S.Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Raymond L.LaHood Secretary of Transportation; Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy; Arne Duncan Secretary of Education and the United States Attorney General, Eric H. Holder, Jr.

Following the meeting with cabinet members, mayors had the opportunity to participate in both an open and closed media session with President Obama, where, according to Mayor Smith, President Obama stated, 'Now, tell me what you all really want to talk about.'

During his report to Councilmembers, at last week's City Council meeting, Mayor Smith referred to the conference as an opportunity for, "wonderful dialogue and interchange." Of President Obama's address to the conference attendees, Mayor Smith added that the President was, "sincere about engaging interests of US cities." During a discussion about his economic stimulus plan, the President made sure he, "emphasized that this will probably be the most scrutinized piece of legislation," said Mayor Smith. As well, Mayor Smith noted that President Obama made clear that he would, "hold mayors accountable for fund use."

As part of the President's economic stimulus plan, Newark will likely see a 25% increase in their Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and as well may see nearly one million in funding for road and street rehabilitation.

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