Here are replies from mayors across the nation to the msnbc.com survey on their priorities for President-elect Barack Obama. We asked the mayors to tell us, in 150 words or less, what two items they would put on the new president's "to do" list.
Other political news of note
Senate approves first nominee since 'nuclear option'
Updated 112 minutes ago 12/10/2013 4:12:04 PM +00:00 In the first confirmation vote since Democrats changed the Senate’s filibuster rules by invoking the “nuclear option,” the upper chamber has approved Patricia Millett's nomination to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
- White House brings fix-it insider aboard
- Defense deal minted, but Gillibrand sexual assault amendment dropped
- Obama recruits former Clinton chief of staff Podesta
- Obama hails 'last great liberator of the 20th century'
- Senate approves first nominee since 'nuclear option'
Replies came in from every state except Delaware and New Hampshire.
David M. Frings, mayor
The two items that I would like President-elect Obama to add to his to do list are immigration reform and developing a comprehensive energy plan for the United States. Locally, we have problems with businesses employing illegal aliens and often paying on a cash basis. This hurts workers and businesses that want to operate properly and pay the taxes that are due. The energy and fuel issue effects everything in our daily lives from the cost of gasoline to food to heating and cooling our homes. We need a strategy from the top that defines ways to control the cost of energy and reduce the dependency on foreign sources.
Ted Jennings, mayor
Americans are problem solvers, and as enormous as many of these problems, we will solve them. My question to the president-elect is how is he going to bring a divided nation together? How is he going to bring civility and respect back into the political arena? And what specific steps he is going to undertake to restore financial stability and confidence in our financial system.
James T. Ramage III, mayor
We hope President-elect Obama will continue the Community Development Block Grant program that is administered by the states. The states have a better indication of the needs of the cities within their borders. The program is competitive among the cities and must have some dollars matched. We have used this program to help keep our infrastructure updated. The program in the past has been aimed at water and sewage projects. This year our state allowed for drainage. The program has always had a element of removing unfit structures. 2. Another program is the money that can be accessed for industrial development that has in the past been assigned to each state. We have used these funds to help locate a Wal-Mart in our community, and we also used the funds at the same time to help our small-businesses' need for water.
Fort Payne, AL
William H. Jordan, mayor
1. Trade issues: Our city used to be called the Sock Capitol of the World. Many of our manufacturing jobs have now gone offshore, creating an economic problem for Fort Payne. We had developed our infrastructure and utilities to match the industrial needs, but they are now underutilized. I would like to see some trade protection against unregulated labor costs. 2. Immigration: Our community had a great influx of Hispanic workers a few years ago, many of them illegal. We had to adjust our schools, housing and social services at considerable cost to accommodate them, and at the same time they were sending a large portion of their wages back to their native countries.
Tommy Battle, mayor
While Huntsville has a diverse and strong economy, basic area infrastructure is still key for any community. To prepare for the growth our area is expecting with BRAC (Defense Base Closure and Realignment Committee) jobs and in our recruitment of industry, I’d like to see the new administration explore federal options with our roads, highways and interstate programs, ensuring that our communities are prepared for further diversification of our local economies. BRAC will be one of the largest impact events in our area’s history, and I’d like to see strong cooperation among local, state and federal departments to make it a success in every way possible.
Sam Jones, mayor
Please make sure re-competition for the Air Force's $35 billion refueling tanker contract is judged based upon merits and not political preference. Northrop Grumman Corp., based in Los Angeles, and Airbus SAS parent European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. won the 179-plane program in February, but losing bidder Chicago-based Boeing Co. successfully protested the award. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sept. 10 delayed the re-bid until the next presidential administration. Mobile has already been selected by Northrop Grumman as the site for manufacturing the refueling tankers. If the competition is judged on merits, we feel certain Northrop would prevail. After all, our military men and women deserve the best. Our city in partnership with Northrop competed fairly for this contract and won. However, something besides merits thwarted the fair competition. We can compete again, but we want it to be fair!
Jim Byard, Jr., mayor
1. An issue that is of tremendous importance to my community is the aftermath of illegal immigration. We, as local leaders, cannot solve the national issue of illegal immigration, but we are forced to deal with the aftermath of these illegals in our cities and in our towns. Whatever our stand on the issue, we have to address this issue without the political posturing that happens in Washington. Our constituents expect action from us on illegal immigration regarding policing, schooling, and any other municipal services offered.
2. Disaster response and our collaboration with state and national leaders/agencies is also important. Being that we are the government closest to the people, we should be the lead agency, but we must be able to count on our other partners to do their share.
Mark Begich, mayor
1. Adopt a national energy policy. Record high energy prices are hurting America’s families and contributing to the national economic crisis. The U.S. needs a comprehensive national energy policy that calls for more domestic energy production, conservation and development of alternative energy sources. As America’s energy storehouse, Alaska should play a central role in supplying our nation’s energy needs, including the oil and gas beneath the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and development of Alaska’s enormous natural gas reserves.
2. Visit Alaska. As the only state President-elect Obama has not been to, I would urge a visit here to see first hand Alaska’s enormous energy potential and our unmatched natural beauty. Here in a creek that runs through the center of our downtown, I’ll help President-elect Obama catch a King salmon which is as big as his younger daughter, Sasha.
Dan Coody, mayor
1. Short term: our country's deep financial crisis. 2. Long term: our clean, renewable, sustainable economic/environmental energy future.
Little Rock, AR
Mark Stodola, mayor
1. Neighborhood revitalization: The neighborhoods in our city’s core are in desperate need of investment (perhaps through increased funding of the Community Development Block Grant program). Little Rock Central High School is a national historic landmark with a beautiful museum, but the neighborhood surrounding it provides only scant evidence of the bustling community that was a critical piece of the American Civil Rights movement. 2. More police: No issue is more important to the citizens of Little Rock than public safety. Wilma Marks, a resident of inner-city Little Rock, said she refuses to let drugs take over her neighborhood and she has had great success working with Det. Tim Stankevitz in the Little Rock Police Department's Narcotics Division. With more officers (as provided in the 1994 Biden Crime Law), we could provide broader service to other residents like Ms. Marks.
Jerre M. Van Hoose, mayor
A program to create jobs for construction workers that are out of work because of the economic slow down. This program would put people to work, while improving much-needed infrastructure in rapidly growing cities such as ours. For instance, our state Department of Transportation has completed the design on a $500 million dollar U.S. 412 bypass, which would greatly help our area. There are funds available for right-of-way acquisition, but not for construction. Here is an opportunity to put people to work quickly.
Horace G. Shipp, mayor
1. The current federal transportation plan (SAFETEA-LU) is actually a 2005 re-authorization of a 1995 plan. The current plan expires Sept. 30, 2009. Many feel the U.S. transportation network is in crisis, and that Congress must develop and approve a new, fully-funded plan that addresses every facet of transportation. China annually spends 9 percent of GDP on transportation; India, 6; the U.S., 2. We are regressing in the areas of maintaining as well as creating new transportation infrastructure. We must turn this around and do it soon. What will you do to place transportation matters and related legislation at the forefront of our national priorities? 2. As a mayor of a small town with many low-to-moderate-income families, we have seen the annual funding level for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) decrease by about 35 percent over the past 6-8 years. Yet our needs in these neighborhoods have continued to grow.
Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor
My top priority for Avondale, AZ, is to see a return of jobs lost as a result of the economic downturn. For too long Arizona’s economy has relied on construction, housing and banking for jobs. Arizona must diversify its job base. Bring back small manufacturing and call center operations and allow workers to support their families. Provide states the necessary financial aid for education and job training.
Secondly, I’d like swift action to resolve the foreclosure crisis. Avondale has the highest foreclosure rates in Maricopa County. The banks must be forced to use the bailout money to help families trapped in adjustable-rate mortgages. For investor-owned properties, fast track the foreclosure process and put properties back on the market for families to purchase through homebuyer assistance programs. Our communities need help now!
Octavio Garcia-Von Borstel, mayor
I ask the president-elect to widen the Port of Entry connecting our border city of Nogales, Arizona with Mexico. Let me be clear, we completely support increased security measures on our border. However, due to the more detailed approach, every day legal commuting from Mexico into our city has slowed to a crawl because the walkway is simply not wide enough to process the legal crossings fast enough. The City of Nogales depends on local downtown business taxes, which are fueled greatly by legal visitors from Mexico. If those legal visitors cannot get through the Port of Entry in a timely fashion, our businesses and community will suffer greatly. We ask to widen the Port of Entry to allow more access for legal visitors, while maintaining its current level of security.
William S. Justice, mayor
1. Water: We receive our water from Lake Powell. Our allotment came from an action of Congress when the dam was built for Lake Powell and the community incorporated. Arizona is a lower Colorado River water user, and our water comes from the upper basin. We basically have great difficulty when it comes to water issues, as we as a rule feel we haven't any representation with this issue.
2. Economic Stimulus: Our community is a tourist destination which relies on the tourist dollar to support our economic well-being. If people don't travel here due to the hardships associated with the obvious recession our nation is in, we will be in serious trouble financially.
Phil Gordon, mayor
1. Due to federal neglect, the Phoenix Police Department has arrested or tuned over to ICE more than 15,000 illegal immigrants in just two years. Phoenix is paying $2 million a year in booking costs. But here’s a bigger cost: Phoenix Police Officer Nick Erfle was killed by a man who had been arrested before and deported to Mexico by our federal government. Because Congress and the President have yet to find the time to secure our borders, this man had no problem re-entering the country, and robbing our community of a hero.
2. As head of the U.S. Conference of Mayors task force on immigration reform. I will be recommending increased border security and enforcement; create a workable guest-worker program for unfilled jobs; elimination of obstacles to citizenship or legal status for the 10-12 million undocumented residents living in the shadows; protection of the human and civil rights of detained citizens and non-citizens.
Lynne Skelton, mayor
It is our desire to have the president lead the country back into a stable and prosperous economy. Restoring and providing the consistent sense of confidence in our ability to get back on our feet.
1. The federal government should aggressively address the development of renewable energy, investing in manufacturing and job training programs for clean technologies. Fund innovation in research, develop and design solutions to real-world challenges.
2. Realistic immigration reform that can be enforced without causing economic or human trauma. Economic and social policy is directly related to immigration policy creating a strong local, state and national need for reform. Instead of attempting to keep millions out, identify and find an orderly way for a smaller number of immigrants thereby meeting the needs of shared prosperity.
Beverly Hills, CA
Barry Brucker, mayor
Our Country sent a clear message that change is needed and you are the leader to implement it. What specific plans do you foresee within your first 100 days in office to shore up our sagging economy and universal health care system? Our country is spending Billions of dollars on the Iraq war. Given that few other countries have participated or care to contribute, is it not time for us to find an exit strategy that could be within the 16 months that you proposed on the campaign trail. Those billions of dollars spent on guns and bullets should be re-directed to providing US job security, green jobs, universal health care and bolstering our education system. Can we expect a 90 percent exit from Iraq within your first year in office?
Robert (Bob) Taylor, mayor
I would like to see immediately an economic package. Also the future progress involving national security. We are a young community, and the foreclosure rate is quite high, and there is much concern about displacement of families. With so much economic turmoil, the prospects of a national security attack would gravely impact the future growth of young progressive cities.
Mary Sue Maurer, mayor
1. A couple years ago, the City of Calabasas boldly passed a law protecting the public from exposure to secondhand smoke. It is my hope that the Obama administration will finally break free of the tobacco industry's extraordinary influence in Washington and pass long-overdue legislation to protect the health of all Americans. This can be accomplished by giving the FDA regulatory oversight of tobacco products and their marketing.
2. Another priority should be fulfilling the government's promise to provide 40 percent of special education costs. Great advances have been made in the diagnosis of autism and other childhood disabilities, but funding to educate these children remains less than half of what was promised. This is financially impacting school districts across the country, and, tragically, it fuels public resentment toward special education students and their families.
Mark Nuaimi, mayor
1. Residents in my community and our region need the federal government to pass a targeted stimulus package that helps employment and housing. This stimulus package could include funding for transportation improvements (like the Cypress / I-10 overpass), flood control improvements, and provisions for tax credit financing to promote acquisition and rehabilitation of foreclosure housing.
2. The federal government should suspend onerous environmental review and streamline project delivery. NEPA should be suspended for a year to allow for expedited project delivery. The federal government should examine the costs of endangered species protection on communities like Fontana and our neighbors, where the protection of the Delhi Sands flower-loving fly has cost our communities tens of millions in direct costs and hundreds of millions of lost economic development.
Bob Wasserman, mayor
1. Economy. Because of our sagging economy we have lost critical revenues that finance our already depleted public safety forces. We need jobs and retail growth in order to keep our residents shopping and working in their city.
2. Health care is a national need. In our area it is very expensive, and the poor have great difficulty accessing the system.
Karen Davis, mayor
1. In California, we have a state budget deficit, with the state robbing from the cities to pay their bills. The president-elect needs to provide some economic stimulus to help stabilize our state budget which, will then help cities, and eventually citizens.
2. Additional federal funding for crumbling roads, antiquated water and sewer systems, and of course, additional funding and incentive for mass transit, i.e., the Gold Line commuter train.
Doug Emerson, mayor
1. We have one of the highest foreclosure rates in California, so one program I would propose would be the following: Very low interest loans, probably second mortgages, to assist first-time homebuyers in the purchase of foreclosed or vacant properties. Our redevelopment agency has put this program in place, but with only $500,000 we are limited to helping only 10 families. The purchaser must have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and we assist with a 1 percent second mortgage up to $50,000. If a similar program were available on a large scale, we could reduce the number of vacant properties and also provide home ownership for a large number of first-time homebuyers.
2. Some sort of incentive for small businesses to expand or some sort of incentive for small business start up. With unemployment rates at historically high levels, especially in San Benito County, we have a tremendous need to create jobs.
Laguna Beach, CA
Jane Egly, mayor
1. Steps to get us out of Iraq.
2. Include in all plans actions to reduce our carbon footprint.
Manhattan Beach, CA
Richard P. Montgomery, mayor
I had the good fortune to meet and speak with (for all of 30 seconds) then-Senator Obama at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami three months ago. I asked him then what I will tell you now. My hope is that the next president will pay the state of California back the costs we have incurred due to illegal immigration. The costs paid by the state of California were for law enforcement, jail, hospital and schools. All of these "free" services were provided to illegal immigrants because of a failed federal immigration policy. Obama's answer to me (which was also heard by the mayor of Redondo Beach, Mike Gin) was, "you are absolutely right, the next president will have to address that problem".
2. Encourage cities to install solar panels on the roofs of public buildings and or install solar-powered streetlights. Then provide rebate money for their purchase and installation.
Rick Gibbs, mayor
1. Market stability affects everything from credit to the foreclosure crisis. Within Murrieta, there are 2,000 homes of 30,000 in default. Municipal employees' California pension funds have lost billions, and the city will have to increase employee match contribution rates. Murrieta residents have lost staggering sums in 401(k)'s and are afraid to make major purchases, such as cars, which are off 16 percent from last year. The President can restore confidence by seeking small but meaningful policy changes on Wall Street to decrease volatility.
2. Tax policy: I would ask that the president consider what the effects of raising taxes in a down economy will mean. California has more than ample empirical data that indicates attempts to tax our way out of recession do not work. The governor has just proposed raising California sales taxes as a temporary solution to deficits. Revenues will decrease in Murrieta and the state.
Pacific Grove, CA
Dan Cort, mayor
Implement Power Purchase Agreements, which would mandate the utilization of the roofs of public buildings for the installation of solar panels. These buildings would essentially generate their own power. Utility companies such as PG&E are already mandated to buy this power. Investors would take advantage of the 35 percent tax credits to invest in the equipment and would be paid back with interest by income received by cities from utility companies. This would lower the cost of power for all cities, provide new industry for America in the production of solar panels, converters, and related equipment, and put America back on the green cutting edge of alternative energy. This plan would accomplish President-elect Obama's mission to create green jobs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions and assist our economy by reducing utility costs and foreign oil/energy dependence.
Port Hueneme, CA
Jonathan Sharkey, mayor pro tem
1. The Center for Asymmetric Warfare is housed here at Naval Base Ventura County and is a underutilized asset. As we look at homeland security, it is apparent that cooperation and training must be shared across all levels of government. Port Hueneme is home to the only deep-water commercial port between Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as being the home of the Pacific Sea Bees. Ours and other ports must be prepared to respond should the unthinkable occur. Lives, material, and our economy are at stake.
2. Our city faces a continuing coastal erosion problem. During the past administration there has been discussion about "reforming" the Army Corps of Engineers. Some of the discussion has been about getting the Corps out of the coastal protection business and forcing the locals to fend for themselves. Due to the enormous costs involved, this would simply bankrupt virtually all of our coastal cities.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Douglas W. Stern, mayor
We have no particular issues that we desire to have President Obama address as city issues. Instead, I desire him to address in a much more thoughtful way than has the present Administration the issues of (1) our economy and (2) our foreign affairs/wars. We must put an end to making decisions based on political ideology, and begin again to find real-world solutions based on quality analysis and thought. That is my desire as the mayor of one American city.
San Jose, CA
Chuck Reed, mayor
1. Clean technology and green jobs: For the first time in years, manufacturing jobs are returning to San Jose despite the downturn in the economy. Clean tech offers opportunities for good jobs that can't be outsourced. Congress took the first step when it renewed the alternative energy tax credits as part of the economic rescue package. Now it's time to encourage investments in energy efficiency and solar installations. We should allow residents and businesses to sell the clean the energy they generate back to the grid.
2. Green transportation: Let's transform transportation. Projects like BART in Silicon Valley and California's high-speed rail network will take cars off the road. Let's create the infrastructure so we can rapidly adopt electric vehicles. Tesla Motors will manufacture its electric sedan in San Jose, creating 1,000 green jobs. Cities will need charging stations and energy capacity.
Ann Waltonsmith, mayor
The economic turnaround, and alternative energy.
Linda C. Jackson, mayor
1. As the state of California's budget deficit grows we cannot afford to have our local funding cut off or payments in funding delayed. Protection of local funding would be our number one main concern.
2. Federal funding assistance in helping to build a north county jail. We have only one facility in the entire county, and it is over crowded, and therefore people are being released and put back on the streets before the needed time.
South El Monte, CA
Blanca M. Figueroa, mayor
1. Help address employment and job retention with benefits. We have many businesses that have gone under for one reason or another, but mainly to a crippled economy. The domino effect has caused many business large and small to lay off workers, close their doors and move to another country, creating vast unemployment for hard working people who no longer have health benefits or a paycheck. This has caused many families to live out of cars, vans or mobile campers that now reside in our parks and empty parking lots.
2. What plans or vision does President Obama have to address the medical needs of many families that are low to moderate income that cannot afford, medical, dental, or vision care at all? How will he help assure many families that they can and will receive any and all health and medical attention that is so desperately needed?
Suisun City, CA
Pete Sanchez, mayor
1. Stopping our involvement in the Iraq war and redirecting that $70 billion yearly cost into subsidizing the health insurance premiums of families.
2. Directing part of the $700 billion bailout money into direct assistance to homeowners who are already in foreclosure or about to have foreclosure problems.
Cañon City, CO
Frank Jaquez, mayor
First of all, the president-elect needs to look at what he feels he will be able to get Congress to support.
It would in my opinion be right for him to attempt to put, say, health care. But if he isn't going to get the support he will need to make it happen, all this would do is get the public's hopes up for some kind of health care reform. So I guess my real answer would be based on my previous statement.
John W. Hickenlooper, mayor
1. Task the proposed White House Office of Urban Policy with developing an infrastructure investment policy around transit and sustainable mobility options in metropolitan regions.
2. Accelerate the transition of national education policy into a transformational 21st century model for public education, examining charter-school innovations, appropriate incentives for high-performing teachers and other results-driven incentive/reward models.
Grand Junction, CO
Gregg Palmer, mayor
1. Make federal lands adjacent to urban areas available for economic development. Grand Junction is a rapidly growing community, surrounded by federal lands. As we seek to expand our regional airport, and push our boundaries to accommodate both commercial and industrial needs , we will need to gain access to large acre parcels controlled by the federal government, either through purchase or exchange. Our ability to respond to the growth in population and industry make expansion onto previously held public lands necessary.
2. Increase transportation dollars to areas with strong energy industry activity, to help lessen the impact to infrastructure. Grand Junction and surrounding counties in western Colorado are in the midst of a massive energy-related boom. With both natural gas, oil, oil shale and uranium all active, we have unprecedented growth. We need to repair roads damaged by trucks and expand capacity on major roadways.
Erik Hansen, mayor
1. The president needs to examine the formula for the federal gas tax. Currently the tax is politicized, and money is not redistributed equitably among the states. Some states receive more money than they put into the system, and some less. There needs to be a formula based on vehicle miles traveled or some other objective measure to redistribute the tax more fairly.
2. Mass transit projects/FasTracks. The Denver metro area is building a multi-billion-dollar mass transit program, FasTracks, the largest of its kind in the country. A change in the formula for how the Federal Transit Authority allocates money for mass transit projects is needed to keep this important project on track and allow more federal money to be used for mass transit projects.
Dick Cleveland, mayor
The one issue that directly affects the Town of Vail and many other resort communities in Colorado is immigration. Specifically, Congress needs to revisit the H2B visa program, particularly that expired part that exempted prior H2B workers from the cap on visas. The reduction in H2B visas when coupled with the inability of prior H2B holders to return exempt from the cap has created a severe worker shortage in many Colorado resorts.
Nancy McNally, mayor
1. We have transportation issues needing federal help in our region. I am also the chair of Denver Regional Council of Governments. We have tremendous needs in bridge replacement, highway repairs, highway expansions not updated since 1951, and the Regional Transportation District passed a measure in 2004 to put in six rail lines to interconnect the Denver region. Money from the federal government has almost dried up.
2. There was a bill passed in Congress to mandate unions for fire and police officers in every city/county/municipality in our country. It has not passed the Senate as it was taken out of an agriculture bill trying to be hidden. We all believe in local control. Some cities find unions for such employees works for them. Other cities are able to work with their fire and police employees in a very positive manner without having unions. Will the President be an advocate for local control?
Anthony Staffieri, mayor
1. The biggest issue that I see is that people are put in power to very important positions and they don't put professionals in the support positions to do the jobs correctly and to make intelligent decisions. I have been a mayor for 3 years and I have accomplished more than any mayor has done. The truth is I have put competent people in place and we made intelligent and informed decisions.
2. The world financial disaster needs to be solved by professionals, and politicians need to put safeguards so people go to jail even if they are politicians. Everyone should have accountability. That would lead to everyone doing their job correctly. It should never be about party affiliation; it should always be about what is good for our country, our state and our city. This way it will always benefit the people.
John H. Lund, mayor
1. Victory in the Middle East. Having served with General Patton, to me there is no substitute for victory. Surrender will cause the world to look at America as a "paper tiger."
2. Governance and the economy. Stop trickle-down government with the power coming from Washington. This should be reversed because "local self-government is the keystone of American democracy." If America has strong local governments, then our economy will be strong. Local level is where the strength of our nation comes from. Let local government do their thing without a lot of control from national and state government. Without federal mandates on cities, federal funding would not be needed.
Coral Springs, FL
Scott J. Brook, mayor
1. What are your plans to support small business?
2. Which areas of government spending can be substantially reduced in the next two years?
Dania Beach, FL
Albert C. Jones, mayor
1. To list his first 10 priorities in order of urgency to get done for the country.
2. What type of work projects he has in mind to kick-start this economy and when & where will he start?
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Jim Naugle, mayor
1. Extend the Bush tax cuts. Raising the tax rate will cut economic activity and always ends up bringing in less revenue. If you want to move jobs offshore, raise the tax rate. Lowering the tax rate for all (including upper-income brackets) will create jobs here at home and create economic prosperity. If you really want to fire up the economy, cut or eliminate the capital gains tax.
2. Drill here and now for oil. Increase coal and gas recovery. This can be done using clean technology and will also create jobs here in the U.S. We need to work on new sources of energy also, but increasing domestic supplies will keep dollars here in the U.S.
New Port Richey, FL
Scott M. McPherson, mayor
1. Address the failing economy. I would expect President Obama to surround himself with the most talented economists in the nation, and determine the best method for solving the severe financial crisis. I would hope that policies will put "Main Street" first. I would like less federal dollars used for the fat cats on Wall Street who ran a scam on the American people, and more channeled to local communities in ways that will generate good jobs.
2. A return to true State's Rights. The Republican Party always claimed State's Rights as one of their planks, but over the last 8 years, we have seen a Republican President expand his powers in ways that trampled the rights reserved to States. No more attempts to trample on the states because of a social agenda like gay marriage, right to die, medical marijuana, or repeats of Terri Schiavo-type federal intervention.
North Miami Beach, FL
Ray Marin, mayor
Think outside the box.
1. Assist in the resolution of the real estate by being aggressive on foreclosures. Have the mortgage holders who have taken the write downs pass those write downs (the upside down portion) to the borrower, convert all ARM to a fixed rate, extend amortization periods. If there is any re-capture of the write downs then have the mortgage holders' deal with the recapture at the tail end of the mortgage or upon sale.
2. A public works program for the infrastructure of the country. We need to pay attention to our country first, and that would include assisting local municipalities upgrade their infrastructure.
3. Reinstate certain regulations. It is obvious that the financial community cannot self regulate. They need a watchdog. With all the hoopla with Sarbanes-Oxley, nothing happened, except to make the world of CPA's more complex by jumping through more hoops.
Ormond Beach, FL
Fred Costello, mayor
I am of the opinion that the health of the American economy is inextricably related to our becoming energy independent. Therefore I hope that our new president will both "drill here, drill now" to immediately reduce our dependence on foreign oil AND that we will fully commit to being world leaders in the research and development of alternate energy sources. When America goes to work on and creates new forms of renewable/sustainable energy, the other problems we face (education, jobs, health care, financial issues ...) will concurrently be resolved.
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Eric Jablin, mayor
1. As private insurance companies have canceled policies in droves, and those that remain are charging exorbitantly high premiums and deductibles, Floridians have been forced to increase their dependence on state-subsidized insurance. I think you must look to providing a federal regulator to oversee insurance companies’ operations and assist Floridians in acquiring property insurance at an affordable cost. For example, everyone in the country contributes to the National Flood Insurance Program, but not everyone lives in a flood zone. The same system could be implemented for wind insurance.
2. I believe the federal government should provide financial incentives for Florida residents (as well as those in other hurricane-threatened areas) to harden their homes. This will help to decrease the catastrophic damages. These incentives could be extended to residents who remodel homes to be more "green."
Safety Harbor, FL
Andy Steingold, mayor
The citizens of Safety Harbor would want to know what our president elect is going to do about our health care crisis and our economic situation. There are many who go without insurance benefits and yet do not qualify for public assistance who ultimately seek out health care in our emergency rooms. There are those who are losing jobs or just do not make enough to cover there basic household costs due to costs of consumer goods increasing across the board without any increase in salary/wage to meet those financial demands.
I am also certain that our citizens would like to know when this war will be won or be brought to an end.
James G. (Jimmy) Johnson, mayor
1. The economy. The small business segment of our society is experiencing extreme difficulty. Taxes are out of site, business is slow, productivity is low. Highest and best use is being applied especially in Florida. The average small business has less than 9 employees. Many are family operated and have low overheads. We must help them with reduce taxes and benefits, especially insurance and retirement. All the situations are solvable, we must move ahead.
2. Medical insurance. What an expense. Relief must be given to the poor. Hospitals and doctors must be subsidized. The solution is to gather several business owners of all sizes, brainstorm, discuss, and come up with solutions.
South Miami, FL
Horace Feliu, mayor
1. A quick end to the war in Iraq so that we may concentrate on "Country First."
2. Our economy with green technology.
Jeff Krauskopf, mayor
1. Stop the spending.
2. Press "Big Sugar" to clean up the Everglades.
Pam Iorio, mayor
1. We need to invest in America's infrastructure. Tampa is the country's 55th largest city and it has enormous needs for modern water and wastewater pipes as well as new drainage systems. If the $150 billion stimulus package passed last year had gone to cities to improve their infrastructure we would have meaningful job creation and productivity throughout our nation.
2. Mass transit. Tampa is planning an extensive light-rail system and we hope to go to referendum in 2010. We will need federal support to build the system. There is not enough money in the federal budget to support new efforts and help cities that have aging systems. Our nation should have the most modern transit systems in the world. This is an investment that will pay economic and environmental dividends for decades to come.
Treasure Island, FL
Mary Maloof, mayor
The economy and our educational system.
Ed Martin, mayor
1. I would ask him to give a priority to stimulate the economy through infrastructure improvement, development or renewable energy, etc., creating jobs as well. Some things long overdue.
2. Tie between provide health care opportunity to approximately 50 million Americans and implement a withdrawal plan for our troops in Iraq.
Athens-Clarke County, GA
Heidi Davison, mayor
1. Educational programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start have proven to be effective in preparing children for success in school. A greater investment in both programs, particularly for low-income children, would have positive long-term effects. With a 31% poverty rate, being addressed by our community initiative OneAthens, education is critical in breaking this cycle.
2. Infrastructure, particularly funding for commuter rail and other alternative transportation, is critical. The "Brain Train," a commuter rail linking Athens to Atlanta and the institutions of higher learning within that corridor, would address challenges such as air/water pollution and economic development linkages. Transit, pedestrian, and bicycling infrastructure would also address air/water pollution, traffic congestion, obesity, mobility for citizens of all ages and needs, while reducing maintenance and operational costs of the road system.
Augusta-Richmond County, GA
David 'Deke' Spencer Copenhaver, mayor
1. I believe that the president should establish a strong working relationship with local governments from day one by putting in place a local government liaison to receive input in a direct and unfiltered manner from local officials who deal directly with the needs of citizens on a daily basis.
2. Simplifying and clarifying the decision-making process concerning interaction between the federal government and local governments is also a must. Augusta was informed last year by FEMA that we must have our levy certified in order to maintain our current flood zone status. We were then informed that the Corps of Engineers, the builders of the levy, could not certify it. A year later, the Corps informed us that for $600,000 they could inspect the levy and let us know what steps to take to have it certified. A clear path forward is difficult to develop under these circumstances.
Gerald H. Thompson, mayor
1. Stop Iraqi War. To save 10 billion monthly.
2. Set an energy policy and mandate its compliance, including clean coal electric generation. My city has its own electric distribution system and we are part of the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia with 50 governments who own generation and transmission in partnership with the Rural Electric and Georgia Power. That partnership is applying for permits for two generation units at our nuclear Plant Vogel. These units will not produce before 2019 or 2020, so we need clean coal now to keep up with the energy requirements. We need to mandate fuel efficiency on automobiles if we are going to assist the auto companies financially. If we would discipline ourselves and become energy independent from the Middle East our country would be more secure, and if we would stop the Iraqi War we could put our country on a firm foundation.
Luther Maddox, mayor
1. The oil issue and our dependence on foreign oil, when our Alaska oil is shipped to the Far East, thus increasing our dependence on governments that do not even like us. Declare a windfall tax on the oil companies and dedicate the proceeds to building new refineries and drilling for more oil.
2. Stop the flood of American jobs going to other countries. Jobs for Americans will mean a strong economy. Establish a tariff on imported goods to reflect the duties that are charged on American products that are allowed into foreign countries. Make it fair trade, not a one-sided free trade.
Sugar Hill, GA
Gary Pirkle, mayor
1. Fix the budget deficit by reducing spending, not increasing taxes. Consider import tariffs.
2. Correct the tax code to reward American companies that work in America. Do not reward offshoring jobs and corporate offices to avoid taxes.
AJ Pavliscsak, mayor
The first thing President-elect Barack Obama (Pebo) should do is get a grip on National Security. While most of the country apparently doesn't remember; we are at war on two fronts, i.e. Iraq and Afghanistan: there are terrorists living among us here in America. Our troops can't fight these wars with one hand tied behind their back following the edicts of panty-waist politicians.
Pebo's next priority should be to get the economy back on track by taking immediate action to provide for low-interest loans for small businesses, provide employment tax incentives for hiring, provide additional tax incentives for business expansion projects and implement a tariff on all imported goods that were shipped offshore for assembly and returned to the continental US for sale, all the while working to reduce the out of control National Debt. Eventually, it will be the greed on Wall Street and the debt that brings it all down.
Tybee Island, GA
Jason Buelterman, mayor
1. Support for infrastructure projects, especially in light of state and federal environmental regulations which amount basically to unfunded mandates.
2. Funds for bridge replacement. Put all those laid-off auto workers to work like in the 1930s.
Mufi Hannemann, mayor
On behalf of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, I have asked the president-elect to place a high federal priority on promoting tourism to the United States and a relaxation of the federal visa waiver program, understanding of course that there needs to be a balance between national security and tourism to the U.S. An increase in tourism would not only provide an economic boost to Honolulu and Hawaii, but for many cities in many states across the country. I have recommended that there be established a cabinet-level secretary of tourism position. Additionally, I would like to see an increase in federal funding for rail mass transit. Rail transit provides economic, environmental and social benefits for cities.
Post Falls, ID
Clay Larkin, mayor
1. Number one for us is getting the financial mess in DC straightened out, including tightening the purse strings of the $700 billion bailout (no perks,bonuses, etc., for the higher ups) .
2. Number two would be the National Transportation Plan, of which little was discussed by anyone during the campaign. This would include the federal government loosening the strings attached to federally funded infrastructure projects, as it lengthens out time on a project; time is our worst enemy!
Karen Darch, village president
1. We urge President Obama to keep his campaign promise to force the nation’s freight railroads to take more seriously their corporate responsibility to the communities they operate in by changing federal rail law. Our town is learning a hard lesson that the freight railroads are allowed to do as they please with the expectation that taxpayers will have the burden of finding funds to fix the negative impacts their operations create. This can’t continue.
2. We would like to see President Obama’s commitment to change extend to federal agencies like the Surface Transportation Board that controls rail operations and mergers. Rather than serving the public interest, the STB is serving the railroads. The mission and mandate of the STB needs to be revamped by requiring that it take a balanced decision-making approach between the needs of impacted communities and freight railroads.
Fred Brereton, mayor
1. Mass transit & Amtrak capital funding: $247 million for the Chicago-Elgin-Belvidere-Rockford-Galena-Dubuque route via Amtrak-Metra-UP as the regional choice for commuter and inter-city rail service. An operating plan is proposed where two of the three trains operate as shuttle trains and terminate in Elgin, providing a cross-platform transfer to a scheduled inbound Metra train.
2. Public safety capital funding: $13.5 million for the renovation and expansion of a Belvidere Police Department/Boone County Sheriff Department jointly owned Public Safety Building. The current facility was built in 1975, and its use has been extended beyond expected life span for one of the fastest growing counties in the state of Illinois.
Bill Sarto, village president
1. There are approximately 170 vacant or foreclosed homes in Carpentersville. Additionally, there are numerous homes in need of significant repair. A program of sufficient magnitude that would provide very-low-interest loans for municipalities to acquire and renovate or demolish abandoned or foreclosed homes, or homes that are in need of major repair, would be helpful to our community. This should be a program separate and apart from the CDBG Program.
2. A program which would provide funding for infrastructure improvements, public property maintenance, and community beautification projects, perhaps similar to the WPA or the CCC, would help the village of Carpentersville by offering jobs to unemployed persons and allowing our village to address numerous capital improvement and property maintenance needs. We also are a village that is divided by the Fox River. We have only one bridge in our village of 37,000 residents.
Downers Grove, IL
Ron Sandack, mayor
Thank you for the opportunity to offer some modest suggestions for our 44th President. Because he is a member of the United States Senate from the Great State of Illinois and has personally been to Downers Grove, Illinois, President-Elect Obama knows the needs of our state and region very well. Nonetheless, I offer two modest suggestions:
1. Public Infrastructure. The public infrastructure in the Village of Downers Grove (and the west suburban region) is in need of significant re-investment. Downers Grove would benefit from additional federal funding that could be invested directly into local streets, storm sewers, water mains and other public infrastructure.
2. Community Development Block Grant. Downers Grove could benefit from additional funding in the Community Development Block Grant program, similar to other communities.
East Moline, IL
John Thodos, mayor
1. Federal Capital Improvement Projects. Specific situation: Mississippi River levee upgrade and repair project. Project has been engineered and approved by the Corps of Engineers, lacks funding. Cost $2,500,000.
National Health Insurance Program. Currently the City of East Moline spends annually $2,500,000 for employee coverage for 180 employees.
Harwood Heights, IL
Margaret 'Peggy' Fuller, village president
1. Media distortion. Too often in my small village, what happens at our board meetings is in stark contrast to what is published in local newspaper. Perhaps local papers would like to attract subscribers by making egregious errors of omission, but it is now commonplace for a one-sided view of local governing actions to exist for our village. As an insulting, scary side effect, politicians are trying to take office based on the poor media coverage. Obama must confront education for our average citizen.
2. Local political corruption. President-elect Obama can set up a group to examine the local chaos that is brewing in small-town America. We must make politicians accountable, and keep Fitzgerald as U.S. Attorney. As a first inner ring suburb of the city of Chicago, many politicians, both state and countywide, invade our town for more control. How can any small town mayor combat outside political corruption?
Highland Park, IL
Michael D. Belsky, mayor
1. Provide cities with grants and flexible tax-exempt financing for sustainability efforts. For example public building retrofitting, fleet replacement, etc.
2. Focus on inner-city crime and poverty. Young African American males need a productive outlet other than gangs, guns and drugs.
Gene Marks, village president
1. The price of oil has decreased significantly, and in parts of the nation the cost of gasoline is around $2.00, this is starting to really help the economy by helping workers, transportation, thus reducing manufacturing costs, etc., having a snowball affect. How do you plan to help keep these prices low that affect our economy so drastically?
2. In terms of our infrastructure, many of our roads and bridges are outdated and the nation is in dire need of a high-speed rail system. What are your plans to advance this?
Brian LeClercq, village president
As village president of Oswego, it is my job to make sure our community is a great place to live, work, and play! With the unprecedented growth, we are lacking when it comes to infrastucture. This is our single greatest need.
Palos Hills, IL
Gerald R. Bennett, mayor
1. Homeland security funding: Under the current program, allocation of monies must go to the state rathern than the counties. Local government cannot apply. We need a change in the program that would be a direct federal to local government grant program. As chairman of Southwest Central Dispatch Police and Fire Agency, we have been trying for the last 5 years for funding to expand and upgrade our faculty in Palos Heights, Ill., where 16 police and fire department are members. We need help.
2. Federal highway funding: Under this existing program, which is about to put together its next 4-year funding cycle, we need to expand the program to include not only highways, but new transit, bridge and other public infrastructure improvements badly needed by local government. Our city has multiple public road, sewer, water and building projects that could be assisted by a new federal/city partnership.
Rolling Meadows, IL
Ken Nelson, mayor
1. Move quickly to stabilize the economy and create a sense of confidence in the public. Don't promote a program then let it take weeks or months before anyone sees any effect for it. People are fearful. Strong and immediate action must be taken to end the fear.
2. Be bipartisan in key appointments. Mr. Obama promised to reach out across the aisle, and now has a perfect opportunity to do so. Bipartisan cabinet selections would increase his credibility and, quite frankly, indicate his desire to find the best person for a particular job without a party label.
Chris Canning, mayor
1. Village revenues are dependant on property taxes, sales tax and real estate transfer taxes revenues. This year alone, real estate transfer taxes are down more than 25% due to the lack of home sales. So as not to continue burdening our residents with increased real estate taxes, what will President Obama do to shore up consumer confidence so that municipal revenues will rebound?
2. Due to the economy, many municipalities are cutting budgets by reducing capital improvements. Knowing that many communities have aging infrastructures, what will President Obama propose to allow municipalities or the federal government to make the necessary investments to improve infrastructure such as roads, bridges and storm water management?
Paul Kraft, town council president
Clarksville, like many local communities, is finding it harder and harder to provide services due to increased costs over which we have no control. Two specific areas that could be addressed are insurance and unfunded mandates.
The federal government should investigate rising costs for all areas of insurance to determine if they are justified. Oversight of the industry may be necessary to control costs.
Also, the federal government should fund any mandates given to state and local governments, such as storm water regulations, and not pass the cost to local government.
Jonathan Weinzapfel, mayor
1. The federal government should proactively solicit input from cities when making decisions about where to build or locate federal facilities. Local planning and community development goals should be given significant consideration. For example, a new Veteran’s Administration clinic is planned for our community. Both city and county government and local veteran’s organizations wanted the clinic located in a vacant medical facility in downtown Evansville. That facility had been recently modernized and is centrally located. Giving this facility new life would also fit into our ongoing efforts to revitalize downtown Evansville. Despite letters to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and substantial community support for a downtown location, the VA ignored local concerns, and decided to build the new clinic on a greenfield in suburban Evansville.
Scott Furgeson, mayor
1. I believe the first thing that needs to be addressed from our cities standpoint is earmarks. We are in favor of earmarks and have recently received one for some new radio equipment for our police and fire departments. I know that we have heard the stories of the misuse of earmarks, but I believe with better oversight this is a valuable tool for local governments.
2. The second is we should look at term limits for Congress. I fell that we have people on both sides of the aisle who have been there too long and are only there to serve their own interest.
Craig Berry, mayor
1. The major concern that I have with the current national situation is how the strong possibility of the continuation of the economic decay will affect my community and its citizens. Not only with the actions of the local government, but with the citizens' personal lives. A reduced spending capacity will be detrimental to people on fixed incomes.
2. I also have a concern with 'unfunded' mandates. These can either be on the national level that filter down, either directly from the federal government or through the state. These items will limit our ability to give our constituents the maximum 'Dance-for-your-Dollar'. I have no problem with mandates, just how does an already strapped entity pay for them?
West Des Moines, IA
Steven K. Gaer, mayor
1. Restore and enhance funding of federal law enforcement programs: Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), including funding for hiring; Byrne Justice Assistance Grant; and COPS Interoperable Communications Grant.
2. Support and provide funding for critical infrastructure projects in West Des Moines, which serves as the crossroads of Interstates 35 and 80, including reconstruction of the Grand Avenue interchange on I-35, the southerly entrance into our community and an area ripe for development; and construction of 105th Street from I-80 down to the bridge over Raccoon River. 105th Street will be a major artery facilitatiing extensive mixed-use development along its length.
Mike Boehm, mayor
1. Top priority will be addressing the economy and the nation's increasing debt burden. We must reign in spending and live within our means. Like cities, the federal government needs to have a balanced budget and begin reduction of the national debt.
2. Bridging the gap between ideologies. Again, the nation is nearly evenly split with a 50-50 popular vote. The nation must come together to work for the good of the nation.
Mark J. Hatesohl, mayor
1. Stabilize the credit market, so people will feel better about borrowing money and banks about lending it. This also affects the ability of municipalities to finance improvements and quality of life issues.
2. Cut taxes so that people have more money in their pockets to spend on their necessities and to help out the less fortunate.
Bowling Green, KY
Elaine Walker, mayor
1. Main Street Stimulus Package. This proposal has the possibility of kick-starting the national economy in a way no other plan can by providing revenue for public projects that have been designed but are languishing for lack of funding. Since they would need to be completed within the 2009 Calendar Year, the impact on the local economy would be dramatic, creating construction jobs building the roads, public housing, green incentives, etc.
2. Second, Congress has passed, and the President has signed, the Energy and Environmental Conservation Block Grant Program, yet it has not been funded. This $2 billion annual allotment for five years would provide cities the size of Bowling Green with the ability to take major steps to create green jobs, provide incentives for green buildings and green initiatives, and to develop a comprehensive plan for our local community to reduce our carbon footprint.
Charlotte Hendricks, mayor
Hartford is home of 2,000 happy people and a few soreheads. We just this year celebrated our Bicentennial. Did our founding fathers fathom what issues we would face? We are in rural Western Kentucky. At one time coal was big, now gone for all practical purposes. We have the same problems as big cities, but don’t have the same weight in obtaining funds. We are in the process of a $3.5 million project to rehab sewers in our town. Some are as old as the town! Our population is over 50 percent low to moderate income. How do you raise water/sewer rates to $75/month on a resident who gets $500/month social security? Perhaps the president-elect should visit the real small towns, the heart of this great nation.
Jim Newberry, mayor
1. The administration should take a Manhattan Project approach to dealing with environmental and energy problems. The federal government should provide funding to Lexington to enable our city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (recently identified by Brookings as the nation's worst), to recycle more, and to improve water quality. These initiatives will generate new "green collar" jobs that will spur our economy while addressing environmental and energy problems.
2. Our nation should fund our rail and mass transit system expansions and airport and highway improvements. Our transportation infrastructure is crumbling. Simultaneously, we should aggressively expand mass transit facilities to provide superior service so that citizens will prefer mass transit over use of private vehicles. Such action will enable Lexington to preserve our farmlands while mitigating traffic congestion in our increasingly dense urban core.
Jerry Abramson, mayor
We need Washington to step up and help America's metro areas create jobs and economic growth by passing an immediate Main Street Stimulus, not a bailout but an investment.
Bridge and road improvements: We have nearly $4 million in needed repairs to small bridges on our two-lane roads. Transit: Increased demand for transit is outstripping our ability to provide it. Washington could invest money to put 10 hybrid buses and 20 more vanpooling vans on the roads of Louisville. Drinking water: We have miles and miles of lead pipes that provide drinking water to our homes that need to be replaced. Floods: Need millions of dollars to upgrade our floodwalls and flood protection infrastructure, such as the Western Pumping Station along Southwestern Parkway that was put in service when Harry Truman was president. Housing: We need to invest $25 to $30 million more to modernize public housing projects like Avenue Plaza and Bishop's Lane.
Candace Watkins, mayor
1. Coastal erosion. This is critical to my community and the entire state of Louisiana, as well as anyone who uses our oil and gas reserves. Coastal Louisiana needs restoration and protection. These issues don't only pose hazards to the state, but the offshore oil and gas industries as well.
2. Facilitating affordable and workforce housing. The lack of affordable housing in our community is a growing concern, and we have no homeless shelters.
Lester J. "Joey" Durel, Jr., mayor, parish president
1. Finish Interstate 49 from I-10 all the way to New Orleans. Currently I-49 ends at I-10 in Lafayette and turns into U.S. Hwy 90. This is a dangerous road with heavy traffic because of its proximity to New Orleans and the oil and gas industry in Southeast Louisiana. It is an important energy corridor and serves as the main hurricane evacuation route for much of that part of the state. This is also good for much of mid America for getting farm products and other goods to the Port of Orleans.
2. The city of Lafayette is installing fiber optics to every home and business in the city that wants it. We will give our citizens, peer to peer connectivity of 100mbs -- for free! This is being done through our city-owned utility and we will have something 80 to 90% of America won't have 20 years from now. The federal government needs to do all it can to encourage municipalities to do what we are doing.
Cape Elizabeth, ME
Mary Anne Lynch, mayor
I would like mandatory universal cell phone chargers. How many of us have boxes of used chargers that only fit one phone? A small issue, but why are we filling our landfills with this stuff? Bring on the universal charger!
Barrie Tilghman, mayor
1. Infrastructure: Solution to the challenge facing America's local governments to replace failing infrastructure. We bail out the financial industry, but the trillions of dollars of necessary infrastructure upgrade and replacement is pressing to the quality of life for all Americans.
2. The Economy: We have seen a dramatic decrease in construction and accompanying applications for building permits, especially in residential development. There is a major high-end condo development on our river that has been completely abandoned and will be auctioned this month. It was in mid construction when the bank pulled the financing. We have also seen an increase in homelessness, foreclosures and criminal activity related to the economy. That is, people are shoplifting essentials such as diapers and food, not electronics.
Clarissa Rowe, chair, selectmen
The two most important issues are getting an infrastructure package through Congress to create jobs, and dealing with the rising cost of health care.
E. Denise Simmons, mayor
1. President Obama must focus on policies that assist small business owners, and that help resolve the housing crisis. In Cambridge, store fronts that once housed small businesses are remaining vacant for longer periods than they used to. People are having trouble obtaining starter loans or investments, affording rent and other overhead costs, and getting the kind of help that can be crucial at the start of a business. We need national economic policies that will stabilize the banking situation, which will ultimately make the climate more hospitable to small business owners.
2. The housing crisis has deeply worsened in recent years. Thousands of people perennially apply to the Cambridge Housing Authority for safe, clean, affordable housing, yet the waiting lists can be unbearably long. Our housing authorities are in need of additional federal funding.
Michael A. Tautznik, mayor
Energy savings/carbon reduction effort: There needs to be a program through which assistance (financial, technical, and possibly legal) can be provided to local and regional governments to give us the capacity and opportunity to participate in the nation's energy independence efforts in a meaningful manner. Existing green energy programs rely on the actions of the for-profit marketplace, using income tax credits and private sector trading expertise to make the difference in successful implementation. Government energy use is significant and extremely visible. Making it the focus of such initiatives would go a long way toward instilling that same ethic in our constituents.
2. Education funding: There needs to be more federal financial assistance, including early childhood, K-12, community college, and basic adult education initiatives and opportunities. Standards should be achievable and sustainable.
Kathryn Fagan, chair, selectmen
1. Our small town was faced with a difficult situation last year when a young firefighter suffered catastrophic injuries on duty. As sufficient medical insurance wasn’t available for purchase for public safety employees, the town was faced with paying enormous medical bills and an early retirement pension out of our limited operating funds. Through efforts of our legislators, we were able to get some special legislation passed to allow us to borrow the funds over a long term, but will still have to use operating funds to pay the costs of borrowing.
2. Unfunded education mandates are crippling our town’s budget each year. Our teachers struggle to provide excellent education to all children no matter their needs, but federal and state regulations, without the funds to support these mandates, are causing dramatic cuts in services each year and pitting school and public safety needs against each other for increasingly limited funds.
Clare Higgins, mayor
1. Focus on economic stimulus. State and local governments are struggling to close their own budget gaps and cannot afford to undertake needed infrastructure and building projects because of the high cost of borrowing. Set up a program similar to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund that would lend money at low or no interest to cities and towns so we can put people to work rebuilding our communities. We would be much more able to build a much needed police station with this kind of program.
2. Fully fund Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.The City of Northampton spent $7.4 million on Special Education in 2007. The Federal Government gave us $600,000 in our IDEA grant. The additional $2 million plus that the City would receive would allow us to avoid further cuts to our teaching staff and to preserve the small class sizes that children need.
Beverly Hills, MI
Hugh Woodrow, mayor
1. How do you actually plan to lower unemployments rates in the US. The typical answer -- "I plan to re-educate the American work force to make it more competative in the world market." -- is not an answer but a nice way to dodge the question. What is your real plan to help the American job market?
2. Without raising taxes beyond what most people can already afford to pay, what is your plan to continue the services the federal government provides without putting this country further in debt?
Don Carney, mayor
1. First is the automobile industry. From all indications that I have read or heard, the domestic automobile industry situation is becoming very serious, and some say it is already desperate. The federal government simply must act and act promptly. The consequences to this region if one of the big 3 fails will be devastating. Moreover, it is increasingly apparent that the consequences of a failure will affect the entire country, not just this region, and put the country into an enormous economic downturn.
2. The second issue is the mortgage housing issue. As residential foreclosures continue to rise, the problem of a nationwide further decline in real estate values is very real. The impact on municipal finance will be severe and will destroy much of our infrastructure and public's confidence in government.
There needs to be prompt action taken on both issues. At once.
New Baltimore, MI
Thomas A. Goldenbogen, mayor
1. Funding of our roads, sidewalks and bridges is subject to the amount of gallons of gasoline sold! With the downturn in our economy in Michigan and in many other states we have see less gasoline purchased, while the construction materials for roads continues to escalate! We need the revenues that take care of roads to be addressed!
2. Encouragement from federal government to continue to invest in the maintenance of our water, waste water, and infrastructure in all our cities though continued planning and engineering grants as well as subsidized interest on loans!
Peter Strazdas, mayor
1. Fix our local roads and bridges.
2. Support local police and fire service. Public safety is the Number 1 issue in our communities.
James R. Fouts, mayor
Barack Obama needs to urge Congress to pass a domestic manufacturing Marshall Plan that includes waiving all federal corporate taxes for 10 years on any corporation that purchases an abandoned auto plant closed because of a merger of any of the Big Three auto companies. One condition is that each state waives all corporate state taxes for 10 years, and that the company purchasing the vacant property begins its manufacturing within six months of the purchase, hires a specific number of employees by a date certain, and does not include 'golden parachutes' or exotic trips for employees. The company making the purchase could apply for local tax incentives but must pay all local real and personal property taxes immediately after the purchase. This legislation would encourage corporations to purchase vacant facilities and create jobs at that facility. It would allow local governments to collect personal and real property taxes.
Richard Lehmann, mayor
1. As the "First City On the Mississippi" we have an obligation to protect the mighty river and all waters relating to it. As we send the river on its journey to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico we have a responsibility to make sure the water that leaves Northern Minnesota is clean and polution free. Therefore, I would like to see a program where communities such as ours have access to federal dollars for the infrastructure to extend municipal sewer and water services around Lake Bemidji. A project of this magnitude is very expensive and meets with a lot of resistance because of the cost of assessing property owners for the construction.
2. Federal government should take care of the local Indian reservation in the form of social services. This should not be on the shoulders of the local taxpayer just because we live in a county that had a reservation.
Columbia Heights, MN
Gary Peterson, mayor
Economy. End the bickering between parties and start working together for the good of all of America.
Fergus Falls, MN
Hal Leland, mayor-elect
1. Public safety is a primary concern in our city. Drug related crime has increased in our community and county and requires additional law enforcement personnel. Federal funding is needed to meet the needs.
2. Remove or rework the "No Student Left Behind" mandate without adequate funding. Our school district is in statutory operating debt and cannot provide the resources necessary to meet the provisions of the mandate. Provide more federal funding basic and special education. Not more unrealistic and unfunded requirements.
Golden Valley, MN
Linda Loomis, mayor
1. The new president needs to address the burgeoning national debt. He owes to the young people that were a large part of his election. It is also an issue of national security.
2. This country needs to adopt a strong energy policy. This goes hand in hand with the national debt problem as a large amount of our country's debt is to purchase foreign oil. The United States' dependence on foreign oil puts this country in very precarious position economically, both in keeping our country's market working and in placing the security of our country in jeopardy.
Johnny L. Dupree, mayor
1. Neighborhood stabilization: Post-Katrina closure (families in homes with blue roofs and who are still in FEMA trailers). Address affordable housing for families living in flood plain areas and areas where homes were built before 1978 with children under 5 and are high risk for lead exposure. Environmental justice issues dealing with brownfields and contaminated properties. Hattiesburg is 125 years old and in need of Infrastructure improvements, e.g., lights, sidewalks, street, water, sewer, bridges.
2. Increased opportunity for job creation.
Blue Springs, MO
Carson Ross, mayor
Stop unfunded mandates by federal agencies to cities, e.g., EPA waste water treatment.
John Engen, mayor
1. Increase direct federal financial support to the Community Development Block Grant program for entitlement communities. The city of Missoula's share of federal CDBG and HOME funds has dwindled by 19 percent in just five years. These programs are the most effective, efficient support for low-to-moderate-income folks. Here the mortgage crisis has much more to do with the fact that working families can't afford to buy a home than it does with folks losing their homes because they can't make the payments. 2. Expand the CDBG program to include infrastructure funding. In Missoula, we've got millions of dollars worth of road projects, sewer-plant upgrades, trail enhancements. We need to build a police facility, an emergency operations center, parks, sidewalks. We could rehabilitate thousands of homes, conserving energy, saving money, creating jobs. Our Green Blocks pilot project has brought energy-saving measures to more than 60 homes.
Ed Babbitt, mayor
1. Financial crisis and the economy. Regulations need to be put back in place on banks and other financial institutions. Relying on Corporate Officers to look out for stockholders does not work, they have no incentive. There should be sufficient penalties for mismanaging financial institutions including prison time. Total pay packages should be limited compared to what they have had and no payments of any kind should be legally made when officers are terminated.
2. Long term planning and implementation so we can reach a balanced budget and steps to ease or erase our trade deficit. Our country is being sold bit by bit as you can not continually buy more than you sell. This problem appears to be completely ignored.
The above items will strengthen the economy and make local government more able to fund their responsibilities.
Las Vegas, NV
Oscar B. Goodman, mayor
1. Create a fund which will assist non-speculating homeowners to avert foreclosure. The stabilization fund presently established addresses only post-foreclosure issues. It seems that the Washington thought process on this one is upside down and backwards.
2. Create a cabinet position addressing tourism issues. That industry is a fertile economic engine which is not being effectively utilized at a time when the economy needs all the help it can get. Tremendous sums of revenue and tons of goodwill are not being actualized.
Ron Jones, mayor
1. The biggest challenge is the high level of foreclosures. In my community alone there are 93 foreclosures and 145 homes for sale. All municipal subdivisions in New Jersey statutorily must maintain a solvent reserve for uncollected taxes fund. As foreclosures rise and banks failures increase, our collection rates drops and the fund becomes overburdened. The federal government must implement a stimulus plan to insure these citizens are able to maintain their residency and back their tax payments until the economy stabliizes.
2. Perception is powerful. During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt ralled the nation in an unprecedented show of solidarity and nationalism. President-elect Obama possesses an uncany abiliity to make people feel positive and stimulates the soul to rally around meaningful change. United, we will prosper and move our great nation into accomplishments far beyond its wildest dreams.
Michael Wildes, mayor
Comprehensive Immigration Reform: While most mayors throughout our nation are concerned about national security, the law has always placed immigration enforcement in the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government. At first blush, the ability of police to enforce immigration law seems a viable solution to our nation's challenge of illegal immigration. Actually, local enforcement will discourage and even prevent undocumented immigrants from accessing police services and deprive police of the benefit of immigrants' cooperation in fighting and investigating crime. Such alienation will only reverse years of police efforts to gain the trust of immigrant community, and strain the resources of local police. Our new President and Congress must enact comprehensive immigration reform that incorporates an earned legalization, appropriate legal channels for hiring low-skilled workers, and increased employer enforcement and sanctions.
Fair Lawn, NJ
Steven Weinstein, mayor
1. Increasing the dollar amount and effectiveness of the funding for community development. Every year, funding shrinks and prior year dollars are still encumbered and not being used. In essence, not be used in a productive manner.
2. Focus on municipal funding and looking at the particular issues in different states. For example, in New Jersey, a heavily home-ruled state, look for ways to funnel money through incentive programs; incentives to communities to cut costs by sharing services. Many times communities need start-up dollars to share services.
Joseph M. DiBella, mayor
1. Roadways all over N.J. are in disrepair and the state has been ineffective in crafting an effective plan for maintenance and repair. Local grants are often distributed on the basis of political patronage and not based on objective criteria. If the president is truly going to lead from the center on a less partisan basis, then perhaps he can prepare a roads improvement plan for all American communities on the basis of some objective criteria (like travel usage, current conditions).
2. N.J. has been crippled by a series of court decisions and local regulations that mandate the creation of affordable housing. The rules promote more growth and development and in the end fail to provide for low or moderate housing. The President should look to design model affordable housing rules to ensure that people in need have access to it absent the red tape that often comes with local bureaucracy.
Mark A. Seda, mayor
The economy is the most important, and second would be federal assistance for local governments.
Mary-Anna Holden, mayor
1. Reauthorization of the Transportation Enhancements (TEA-21). Transportation enhancement grants provide needed capital to protect and enhance communities' quality of life and streetscapes, provide for safety and education, and environmental mitigation, as they relate to highway, pedestrian, bike and rail. It also funds to encourage creation of jobs through a youth conservation corps.
2. Re-establishing the federal historic homeowners rehabilitation tax credit and removal of the "condo" provision that prohibits developers from using the federal commercial version of the credit when adaptively reusing historic buildings for housing. (After all, historic preservation is also the original "green" building, capturing an existing building's embodied energy rather than sending it to a landfill.)
Jerry Fried, mayor
1. Create a national service program on the model of the Peace Corps. Volunteers will earn the same low wages of an average worker in struggling communities and can teach necessary skills, retrain workers, build low-cost housing and provide necessary social services.
2. Implement an economic stimulus package that specifically funds green initiatives including public transportation, alternative energy, conservation, recycling and environmentally sustainable construction and reconstruction of public facilities.
Mount Olive, NJ
David Scapicchio, mayor
The economy and taxes.
North Arlington, NJ
Peter Massa, mayor
1. Put an end to the senseless war in Iraq and rechannel much needed funds to cash-strapped states and local governmenst for public safety and public works programs.
2. Develop incentives to keep good manufacturing jobs in the U.S. rather than trading them for cheap overseas labor.
Steve Brockett, mayor
1. Located in the northernmost Chihuahua Desert, our most precious resource is water. Founded in 1898 due to the large amount of surface water that flows from the nearby Sacramento Mountains, we have suffered through drought conditions during the past two decades. Our conservation measures have reduced water demands by more than three million gallons per day. Earlier this decade we made the commitment to pump saline groundwater from a well field about 25 miles north, on federal land. The Environmental Impact Statement study continues. It is a long process, and I am compelled to believe it has to do more with bureaucratic job security than with the well-being of our city. President Obama needs to address this bureaucratic delay. He has good people in his country who might just run out of the wet stuff.
2. National energy policy. Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico has been working diligently to make this happen.
Gayla Brumfield, mayor
1. Address our economic situation. We need to take care of the Housing Dilemma. Housing drives the economy in many ways and this part of the economy needs to be addressed immediately. Working with lenders to make sure loans are flowing and helping home owners to stay in their home is critical.
2. Infrastructure Needs. Concentrate on our infrastructure needs such as highways, bridges, and making sure water projects are approved for our betterment, instead of doing infrastructure work and/or water projects in other countries to the determent of our country.
Joseph M. Maestas, mayor
1. Stimulate rural economic development through infrastructure investment, high speed broadband, and renewable energy development. Specifically, increase funding for transportation (bridges and highways) and centralized utility (water and wastewater) infrastructure. Also, a Northern New Mexico regional high-speed fiber backbone is needed to connect rural local and tribal government economies with the mainstream economy to compensate for the geographic isolation. Lastly, renewable energy development through collaboration with the Los Alamos National Lab’s new mission and Española’s Solar Energy Research Park & Academy.
2. Improve access to affordable, comprehensive, and quality health care in rural and low-income areas. Address policy areas that create disparities in care: workforce development, financing, and development of public health infrastructure (equipment, facilities, information technology).
Lonnie R Nunley, mayor
1. The economy in of utmost importance to all of America. I have faith in America and our new president to overcome any adversity regardless of its complexity, and I have faith in the American people that they can also meet the challenge ahead and work with the new administration.
2. In regard to the three wars we are dealing with (war on terror, Afghanistan, and Iraq), we need to concentrate on getting out of Iraq in a reasonable time, stabilizing Afghanistan and winning the worldwide war on terror. I have a grandson in Afghanistan with the Army and so I have a personal interest in this issue.
Matthew T. Ryan, mayor
I urge President-elect Obama to enact an economic stimulus package that addresses both municipal infrastructure and housing.
1. Infrastructure: The City of Binghamton faces critical infrastructure needs, but lacks the proper funding. For example, state and federal standards for sewage treatment have increased dramatically, but we haven’t received any funds to offset the now-higher costs. Consequently, we may have to raise local sewer rates by 60% this year.
2. Housing: Housing is the base for cities’ economic sustainability, and the Community Development Block Grant is the single greatest resource used by cities to improve their housing stock. However, CDBG has been cut 20% in the last five years. We now have New York State’s lowest homeownership rate, but more CDBG funding would help considerably.
John T. McDonald III, mayor
1. Health Care is a right, and the president needs to establish the baseline of health care that all Americans are entitled too. This does not mean that government moves to a single-payer system and runs the program. Government needs to lead with the parameters and guidelines and provide oversight, however the competitive marketplace needs to comply with those rules. In particular the President needs to examine the program benefit managers, who have played a role in managing plans but have also played a larger role in expanding costs.
2. The President needs to start the withdrawal from Iraq. The funding that is to be saved needs to be placed back into domestic agenda items such as transportation, roads/bridges especially in Upstate New York and water/sewer infrastructure (1960's pump stations and ancient water filtration plants) that are in total need of replacement.
Dobbs Ferry, NY
Scott H. Seskin, mayor
1. Infrastructure. The Ashford Avenue Bridge, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., maintains a critical conduit which separates East-West travel between the village and the other villages in Westchester County and more directly the Village of Ardsley. Ths juncture also serves as an entrance to the Saw Mill River Parkway. This bridge is "falling down" and is scheduled for replacement; the money is in jeopardy. The Chairman of the Planning Board/Engineer and I have suggested improvements to the bridge, which in addition to replacing it, would reduce traffic back-ups and improve quality of life by creating a ramp to a bike path directly below.
2. Environment. Dobbs Ferry is blessed with a magnificent Hudson River waterfront. Unfortunately, the Hudson River remains polluted despite the best efforts of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Riverkeeper. Cleaning up the Hudson would provide a safe place to swim and fish, improving our economy and quality of life.
Shawn D. Hogan, mayor
The economy is number one on anyone's list, however, in my mind this should include some type of assistance to state and local governments. There has been no specific urban policy in this country for many years. One of the most valuable programs that helped local governments was the Federal Revenue Sharing program put in place by Nixon; it did more to help small and medium and large cities than any other program. We need specific plans and bench marks in place to improve all the nation's cities. Should be a cabinet level position on Urban Policy.
James M. Sottile, mayor
1. Education. Far too long the federal government has been passing down un funded mandates with the "no child left behind." The single most important item President Bush left behind was the funding for the programs he developed. We as a nation must understand that each child learns at different levels, and as we educate we cannot paint each child with a broad brush. We spend too much time teaching children how to pass exams and not enough time on the actual material.
2. Job creation. Small communities are suffering because there are not enough jobs available to help support a family. The president must focus on the United States. We must spend our federal money here at home. If the federal government made the resources available or gave incentives to companies to create jobs in America, many of the problems facing small communities would be addressed.
David Carucci, mayor
The first issue we would like to see the President-elect address is federal funding for wastewater infrastructure. The City of Olean has been placed under a consent order by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for our wastewater treatment facility’s inability to handle wet weather flows. We have conducted a wastewater master plan to systematically address the issues of our aged infrastructure. However, the city will need to spend nearly $40 million dollars over the next 10 years to address these issues, which would raise our sewer rates nearly 200% and financially cripple our citizens.
The second issue is federal funding to help municipalities promote homeownership. In 2000, Olean’s homeowner-occupied housing was 58% at an average value of $58,900 (national average 66% at $119,600). This has gone down to nearly 50%, which in turn has negatively affected our total housing market value.
Ronnie K. Wall, mayor
1. Unfunded federal and state mandates for broad environmental concerns.
2. Continuous reduction of Community Development Block Grant funds.
Mark Chilton, mayor
We need to spur the economy by investing in public infrastructure. Sooner or later we need to upgrade deteriorating bridges, resurface roads, build sidewalks and carry out other transportation infrastructure projects across the nation. Much of this will be paid for through federal spending one way or another. I think we need to act now to carry out these projects and get construction crews back to work -- solving two national problems at once. In Carrboro, we have street resurfacing needs, as well as numerous bicycle and pedestrian improvement projects that are awaiting future federal assistance.
Darryl Moss, mayor
1. Water and sewer infrastructure. This is the key to our economic development.
2. Public safety. Improving police, fire and EMS resources.
Getting some help in just these two areas will be of tremendous value to our quality of life.
William V. "Bill" Bell, mayor
1. Addressing the country’s economic ills should be the number one issue of the administration’s priorities. The administration should develop a "Marshall Plan" or economic stimulus that focuses on rebuilding the infrastructures of America’s cities (to include the auto industry), focusing on transit, streets, bridges, water and sewer infrastructure, to provide jobs immediately. HOPE VI, which replaces distressed public housing with affordable mixed-use housing and revitalizes inner city neighborhoods, should be funded and expanded. The Federal government should direct all of the economic stimulus funds to the cities, bypassing state governments so that it reaches the cities quickly and can be put to use immediately.
2. Develop a health insurance program ensuring that all persons, regardless of their income, have access to quality health care and prescription medicines.
Holly Springs, NC
Richard G. "Dick" Sears, mayor
1. North Carolina and Wake County are financial doners (to both state and county). We are in dramatic need of funding, especially for road development. State DOT is not in a financial position to provide the traffic capacity improvements needed in this fast-growing state. We would appreciate getting back even just what we send. Put the money where the growth is.
2. Protect Social Security at all costs for our citizens, particularly our retirees. Many my age (I am 69) depend upon this check every month, and with all the perceptions of the coming of increased spending at the federal level, they (and I) are nervous.
Matthew Block, mayor
1. Taking some bold steps in breaking the link between poverty and poor educational outcomes that is so rampant in the rural South. The problem with educating the poor is not going to be fixed by pumping more money into the educational system. We need major structural changes, such as increasing the age of mandatory school attendance from 16 years old to 18 years old, coupling federal entitlement benefits to parental involvement/responsibility, and a more community-based focus to child education (graduation coaches, faith-based initiatives).
2. Giving incentives to companies/industries to locate in communities hardest hit by globalization, especially with the upcoming government-led expansion of "green-economy" industries.
Oak Island, NC
Johnie Vereen, mayor
1. Order the banks to start lending money to restart the local economy. As long as they are holding on to their money and not allowing the business community to get their hands on anything, everything comes to a halt. I don't mean the big companies either; I mean the small companies that make up of the bulk of business in this country. Give them a cushion so they can put people back to work. Cushion means cash, not a tax break. You cannot spend a tax break, nor can you pay employees or buy products to sell. This starts the ball rolling.
2. Put a stop to not just some of the foreclosures, put a stop to all foreclosures for one year and give folks some hope. When they know they are going to lose it all they just give up and walk away and then everyone loses. If you don't fix this problem the ripple affect is never going to stop. Give them some hope.
Alvin Woodlief, Jr., mayor
The two most important things that the new president can do for my town is get us out of Iraq and start sending money to towns and cities for local water and sewer projects and street improvements.
Second we must do something with the immigration laws. English must be made the official language of the US, and if you can't speak it you can't stay.
Charles Meeker, mayor
1. Get the economy rolling with a series of steps.
2. Leave Iraq responsibly.
Constantine H. Kutteh, mayor
The two projects which I suggest are a public works initiative to rebuild roads, bridges, sewer and water lines, and other essential infrastructure which is deteriorating, and an imposition of import tariffs to enhance the return of "lost jobs" to the United States.
Our community has remained fiscally solvent and has a diverse employment base; however, we have state and federal roads and bridges that need attention.
Additionally, we have lost jobs that have been extremely difficult to replace. While our economic development efforts have been quite successful, it remains hard to compete as aggressively as we would like in a world market.
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Stephen K. Whalen, mayor
1. As a coastal community, beach re-nourishment is vital. A well nourished beach acts as a barrier to protect property should we experience a major hurricane. The $3-5 million cost and federal participation every 3-5 years is always a challenge. We work with the Corps of Engineers and Congressman McIntyre and they are very supportive and do a great job. Why isn't FEMA involved in the process, as timely re-nourishment could potentially save 100s of millions of dollars in property damage? The invisible wall FEMA and the Corps of Engineers needs to come down. The NC Corps Commander agrees.
2. We have had a question/request in to the Department of the Interior for almost two years and we have yet to have an answer? Too many layers, too many playing CYA, and not enough people willing or able to make a decision. Easy solutions become overly complex. How does anything get done?
E. Ward Koeser, mayor
As the mayor of a community in 'oil country,' I would like for the next president to adopt an energy policy that takes advantage of the natural resources we have at hand. Our region is blessed with an abundance of oil and I'm concerned that as the price of crude declines, drilling in our region and the U.S. will decline as well. We need a policy that encourages oil companies to invest in America so that we are not as dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs. We all seem to think it's critical to have an energy policy until the price of crude becomes so cheap that we all are happy with the way things are.
Julie Vann, mayor
1. City planning and regional urban planning. At one time urban planning was encouraged and helped cities become more forward thinking. Urban sprawl is an expensive challenge. I would urge two categories: regional planning and also local city planning. Both are needed. Unfortunately many small and medium size communities have immediate pressing needs that dominate their budgets, so long range planning is continually put off until "next year."
2. Housing rehabilitation for low- and moderate-income families. First-tier communities are challenged because their housing stock was predominately older that 1978. The lead based paint rules are confusing and very demanding. They cause low income families requesting a need a roof and furnace to also complete $10,000 of lead paint improvements. In fact the HUD programs have evolved to encourage more mortgage debt. Now we have the HOME program which again is loaded with rules.
Broadview Heights, OH
Samuel J. Alai, mayor
In a word, infrastructure. We could bring this country's economic problems to pass with programs to fix our nations roads, bridges, and aging water and sewer lines. This would provide jobs for the communities. It would provide business for suppliers. This would also allow for people who now have jobs to afford to buy homes and cars. We must bail out the people not the industry.
Joe Sulzer, mayor
1. I would suggest with the President-elect's stimulus package that he include funding for public works projects throughout this country. As the president-elect stated during the course of the campaign, he would create millions of jobs through public works to help fix and maintain infrastructure in our communities.
2. I would suggest that the president-elect increase funding for the Community Development Block Grants and low income housing. President Bush, as his Republican predecessors, attempted to eliminate funding for CBDG and did reduce funding for low-income housing. These programs contribute to improving the quality of life in every community.
Cleveland Heights, OH
Edward Kelley, mayor
1. Foreclosures: If the Congress can hand over $700 billion to bail out financial institutions, they certainly should be able to fund basic programs that can stop foreclosures. Our city has 48,000+ citizens and over 1,200 vacant homes due to foreclosures. Too many citizens have been stereotyped that their situation is somehow their fault for not reading the fine print. We need to stop blaming the victim and start helping them to get back on their feet. Funds must get into the hands of citizens who are in danger of losing their homes because of job loss or health issues. In our area there are counseling groups trying to help. These groups need to receive more funding for their outreach.
2. Health care:Low-cost premiums for basic health care should be made available to every citizen. Let the drug companies stop spending millions on advertising and partially fund basic health care.
Bob Armstrong, mayor
EPA's non-funded mandates. Citizens' water and sewer rates will be at a level where some will not be able to pay. People living outside the city limits will be paying two and one-half times the rate as the city rates. Their rates could reach $350 to $400 per month for an average family. Here in Defiance, Ohio, our situation is that we have 6,600 users to pay $60 million over a 20-year period to separate 44 overflows. The Ohio villages of Ney, Florida and Continental have 500 users with a $3.5 million mandate with 15 years to complete. On top of that the EPA is asking for our 5-year plan to separate storm sewers, which could cost more than the sewer-separation mandate. We are all for clean air and clean water, but we must make it affordable. I encourage the federal government to change or regulate EPA laws, and I support Senator Voinovich and Brown's bill and applaud them for their actions.
Terry Overmyer, mayor
Get EPA under control, and start drilling in USA for oil and gas.
David J. Berger, mayor
1. Establish a PERMANENT funding vehicle for the re-establishment of community oriented policing (COP). Our community was able to hire 10 officers when the Clinton administration created the previous program, and through the adoption of the philosophy of COP the Lima Police Dept. had a dramatically and documented positive effect on crime and quality of life issues in our neighborhoods. Once the federal funding expired (actually it was diverted to Homeland Security), our community was not able to sustain that level of manning and thus the initiative ended.
2. Commit funding for major infrastructure grants for water, wastewater, and transportation systems in local communities. We are being crushed by unfunded federal mandates and by the requirements to update and maintain existing infrastructure systems. Our community of 38,000 has well in excess of $100 million in such needs.
Tim Wagener, mayor
I had actually asked candidate Obama personally at a campaign stop, not to ignore the big three automakers like his predecessor had for six years. So far it seems he was listening.
Obviously JOBs are the most important here in the Midwest!
Federal unfunded mandates kill states and cities!
Mount Vernon, OH
Richard K. Mavis, mayor
1. Protect jobs in the United States.
2. Maintain Community Development Block Grant Program.
Bob Diebold, mayor
1. Remove energy products, (gasoline, diesel fuel, fuel oil, natural gas and coal) from the commodities markets. The drop in energy prices, specifically motor fuels, is NOT relative to consumption. Supply and demand balance is not as relevant with investors, driving the commodity prices on the market, thus escalating the consumer prices. This is a drag on the economy and consumer confidence. Continue to develop alternative energy sources by demonstrating with government buildings and vehicles.
2. We have lost many good paying jobs due to cheap foreign labor. Trade agreements need to be negotiated with our trading partners. The NAFTA treaty is not what I am referring to. Our overseas trading partners are utilizing nonexistent workforce regulations to exploit laborers and undermine our markets. Our standard of living should not be diminished. Others' should be enhanced.
North Olmsted, OH
Thomas O'Grady, mayor
I am very active in the International Mayors for Peace organization, and will be traveling this month to Belgium and Switzerland to promote peace and a nuclear-free world. I will only offer one suggestion, because I believe that it is so important that all other matters are dwarfed in comparison. I would ask President-elect Obama to work toward 'Peace.' And by peace I do not mean merely the absence of war. We must work toward a true peace, which includes social peace and economic peace, both in our nation and in the world. I know that this is a big task, but I am re-energized by the wisdom of our voters in Ohio and throughout the U.S. It takes a great nation to elect a great president. On November 4th we proved that we are a great nation. I think that our next President will be up to the task of finding peace in our time.
Prudence Z. Dana, mayor
1. Addressing health care is the most pressing economic issue for us as a city. Solving that will go a long way to making our city's budget work.
2. Infrastructure is the second issue, specifically: alternative modes of transportation!!!! Mass transportation. We need buses and trains to help us get to where we want to go efficiently and "greenly." This too will go a long way to helping our budget, as well as the issue of climate change!
South Euclid, OH
Georgine Welo, mayor
1. How do you put America back to work?
2. How do we repair our Infrastructure in the core and first-ring communities?
Christopher Grimm, mayor
The main issues I believe throughout Northeast Ohio are infrastructure and transportation.
1. Smaller communities are facing real problems with rebuilding our aging water, sewer and storm water infrastructures. If federal dollars became available, or zero interest loans, communities could begin to rebuild these systems and at the same time create jobs for those in our areas.
2. Our second area is transportation. Aging and abandoned rail lines in our communities only show how we have abandoned the idea of transportation from community to community by rail. A new system of high speed rail to get from Columbus to Cleveland through Akron in an hour would be great. Again this would create new jobs both in the construction and the operation of the system as well as reduce the number of cars on the state highway system.
Howard S. Zwelling, mayor
My concern is that the federal government quit cutting community development block grant funding. The current administration has cut it drastically, and there are still thousands of people in Appalachia that do not have water and sewer. I spoke personally on this subject with the president-elect when he was in Zanesville.
Kathy Taylor, mayor
1. Transit funding. As gas prices remain high and the environmental issues continue, a significant investment in transit infrastructure is vital. President-elect Obama should make it a priority to provide cities funding to improve accessibility and reliability of transit (bus and rail).
2. Public Safety. With today's national economic issues, cities will see pressure on their budgets. There is a link between current economic conditions and increasing crime rates. President-elect Obama should provide funding of the COPS program, which would allow over 16,000 additional police officers on the streets. 42% of the cities are seeing increased crime as a result of the current economy. Tulsa's current staffing study would require $7-million to implement, and we are totally reliant on sales tax funding. Without federal help other city services will have to be cut to reach this goal.
Charles C. Tomlinson, mayor
My request to President-elect Obama would be to sign a Congressional bill that contains the full appropriation for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant program. From an environmental, balance of payments and national security standpoint, the United States needs to develop energy strategies that lead to a reduction in our dependence on foreign oil. Energy efficiency and conservation are significant components of this strategy. The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant provides for grants intended to reduce fossil-fuel emission and total energy use. Under the law, Congress can appropriate up to $2 billion in funding for the program, 68% of the funds go to local governments. Congress has not appropriated funding for the program. President-elect Obama can provide state and local governments the means to deploy energy strategies that serve local communities.
Lou Ogden, mayor
1. For the record, the "to do" list is: assure the world is safe, particularly our homeland, so that people can prosper.
2. Secondly, to facilitate an environment where we can have full employment with productive, well paying jobs for everyone who is able and willing to work, to facilitate an economy where the employed can earn quality health care as part of their compensation for their production, and facilitate a system that provides basic services for those who are willing but unable to produce because of physical or mental limitations beyond their control.
Ambler Borough, PA
Charles T. "Bud" Wahl, mayor
The economy and environment, and they tie together. We have a 10-year plan like reaching the moon, by JFK. By having an almost WPA-like program, we put people to work and open factories closed by lack of car sales, for the production of wind and solar instruments to make us oil free. It is almost like WWII, when the autos were not made so we could make tanks! We are in an economic war.
Salvatore J. Panto, Jr., mayor
1. I would ask that Hometown security be placed on the agenda as well as Homeland security. Here in the cities we need police officers. We need to take our streets back from the gangs and drug dealers.
2. An increase in housing grants available to cities to rehab and restore vacant structures.
Stephen R. Reed, mayor
1. Eliminate the arbitrage restrictions on tax-exempt bonds issued by cities, towns, counties and states. The current restrictions went into effect Sept. 1, 1986, when Congress 'reformed' the IRS Code. Eliminating these restrictions would lower the cost of borrowing for governmental entities and their taxpayers, would spur long-overdue infrastructure, alternative energy, housing and other critical initiatives, stimulate job growth and investment, and give a real shot in the arm to the investment sector. When the IRS code was amended to restrict arbitrage earnings to no more than the interest rate on public bonds, a significant source of capital funds was wiped out.
2. In the Great Depression, the U.S. bought many mortgages, refinanced them to keep homeowners from losing their homes, and this investment was eventually paid back with taxpayers making a profit. Nothing less is needed now to really bolster the economy.
Richard Friedberg, mayor
1. One of the biggest issues we face and that we cannot control are the rising costs for providing health care and supporting three defined-benefit pension plans. In our case, premiums for health care will increase by 40 percent for 2009, which is about 40 percent of our currently projected budget deficit. Like many other cities, we are forced to reduce the number of employees (which we have been doing for the past 10 years) to avoid a large tax increase. This does not help us fulfill our mandate to provide for public safety, especially at a time when crime will likely increase. We need a national health care plan.
2. Community Development Block Grant funding eroded by 25-30 percent under Bush -- not counting inflation!!! -- and should be restored to pre-2000 levels. These are the funds that local governments use for a variety of projects to help their least fortunate residents.
James J. Lomeo, former mayor
1. Defeat the terrorist. This helps on a local level, in that state and local law enforcement can focus on traditional crime prevention, as opposed to spending resources, training and time on domestic terrorism.
2. Issue by executive order that FNMA lowers the 30-year rate by 1 percentage point for one year. This would cause FNMA to lose money, but it is a lot cheaper than the $70 billion bailout. Also, it would directly assist homeowners to refinance out of ARM loans and reduce their monthly payments, which of course would stabilize home prices. This issue is important to local government, since most of our revenues come from real estate taxes, and lower values means lower revenues.
William Miranda Marin, mayor
1. The time is right for a renewed approach of Washington toward the countries in Central and South America, as well as the nations in the Caribbean basin. The opportunities for collaboration and economic prosperity and social progress are real. We should pursue a strategy to fully integrate socially, economically and politically the Americas through agreements that facilitate the flow of goods, capital and people, following the model of the European Union. In this way the whole hemisphere will become a regional block of around 700 million people positioning to face the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities that a new world configuration are creating.
2. Infrastructure for competitiveness. To succeed in this economy, we should embark, through increases in funding in the CDBG program, as well as in other programs, to develop the infrastructure from the ground up.
June Speakman, vice president, town council
1. Adopt a national energy policy that provides incentives for homeowners to go green and clean, and provides programs that allow municipalities to figure out the best way to meet the community’s energy needs. Among the most difficult issues that has faced our council has been the siting of a wind turbine. No matter which piece of town land we consider, the neighbors protest vehemently about the sound and aesthetics of the turbine. If there were a national energy policy, local officials could devote their time to things that municipalities do best -- -conservation, recycling, gentle landscaping, green purchasing.
Keep the federal government’s promise regarding funding for special education. This issue can divide communities in particularly ugly way. The feds promised to pay 40% of the costs for federally mandated (and vitally necessary) special education programs. That promise has never been kept. The federal share is about 10%.
Central Falls, RI
Charles D. Moreau, mayor
1. The mortgage crisis has ravaged my city, and we need help ASAP. $19.5 mm has been allocated to RI, however it seems that nobody knows how the funds will be allocated to each eligible community.
2. Health care costs are out of control -- $3.3 million on a $17 million total budget. We all need help in this department.
Bob Coble, mayor
1. Make alternate energy the centerpiece of his energy policy. Specifically, I would like to see hydrogen research funded at a higher level. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and can be used as a fuel directly or in hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen could free us from Middle East oil, reduce pollution and carbon emissions, and be the start of a new green economy.
2. I would like to see funding of police officers and security cameras be a national priority. Crime is increasing across the United States with the falling economy, and there is a great need for federal resources to combat crime. More officers and a national commitment to security cameras would have an immediate impact on reducing crime in our communities.
Bronco Bostick, mayor
1. Education: Relevant to my small town, I would like for President-elect Obama to address and rectify the No Child Left Behind Act. Our schools and library, like many throughout the nation, are underfunded. I would like the president-elect to push more funding into rural and inner-city schools, ensuring that these children are not at a disadvantage because of their geographical location. I would also like to see more grants given by the government to libraries to foster reading and research.
2. Economy: In a town where many Joes can not afford the luxury of a six pack, I would like President-elect Obama to work hard toward solving the economic crisis. My town consists of many small-business owners who are concerned about the health care policies he will enforce. I would like him to address their fears. I would like to see programs that will help, not hinder, their businesses.
William Barnet III, mayor
1. Financial crisis: Need stability and banks to be in position to fund small business and residential needs. All about confidence in the system and people creating business expansion and thus job creation.
2. Infrastructure. Funding projects that will reduce unemployement and stabilize the pressure on families and wage earners. Allow people to avoid foreclosure and rebuild our roads and bridges and infrastructure needs.
Scott Munsterman, mayor
1. One thing I have learned from my experience as a local elected official is that government can play a big role in helping get things started through public and private partnerships. Many times it only takes a little seed money in the form of a grant to help initiate a greater movement in a local community. As an example, Brookings was the recipient of a grant for a downtown renovation project. In light of the federal deficit, it is my hope the federal government will continue to provide grant support, even if small, to encourage community development, especially in our rural communities.
2. President Lincoln was instrumental in forming the land grant university system to help propel us into the agricultural economy almost 150 years ago. It is my opinion we must re-energize our efforts and reinvest in our land grant universities by investing in research, development and commercialization, to usher in the new economy.
Ron Littlefield, mayor
1. Infrastructure. This includes streets, highways, high-speed rail transit, bridges and sewer systems. We must address the critical need to replace out-dated and inefficient roadways, bridges and sewer systems. High-speed rail transit needs to be discussed nationally as an environmentally conscious alternative to overcrowded roadways and airports. 2. Housing. We must increase access to affordable housing and provide for the increasing populations who are at risk of becoming homeless or are already homeless. Increased access to services that will address the reasons for homelessness must also be provided to ensure success in any housing effort.
Linda Kerley, mayor
1. Federal aid to cities: Collierville has been one of the fastest-growing towns in Tenn. for quite some time, but in the last year we have seen a reduction in building permits (2007 permits 253, 2008 permits 77) due to the slowdown of sales in real estate. Our year-to-date number for 2007 for home sales was 830, and for 2008 is 603, a reduction of 27 percent. We are a progressive community with a priority on keeping the traditions of a town in place while growing into a city. The federal dollars that have been severely reduced to states has created a severe reduction (almost zero) to local municipalities. 2. My next question would be to ask President-elect Obama to select our former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. to serve within his administration. Congressman Ford is a fine Southern gentleman who would serve loyally and be a wonderful representative for our country.
Sam Sallee, mayor
1. Much like during the Eisenhower era with the interstate highway system, I think it is time for the country’s leadership to rally and make big decisions that move this country in a sustainable direction. First, I recommend President-Elect Obama move forward unconditionally with a nationwide mass-transit system. This would reduce demand for foreign oil; create a substantial amount of high-paying construction jobs and long-term jobs which strengthens the nations economy; help protect our environment; and open greater opportunity for tourism. 2. I would regulate health insurance companies. Their profit margins are disproportionate, and people of all socioeconomic levels are feeling the pain of health insurance costs. Health care should be attainable to all, and regulating it might help companies keep jobs in America rather than offshoring. Good luck, President Obama. I’m here to help.
Justice Henderson Graham III, mayor
Help us to right a wrong, to serve justice by proclaiming March 29, 2009, and every March 29th henceforth as Vietnam Veterans Day to gratefully acknowledge this special group of veterans. They were really never welcomed back home properly. I chose March 29 because, on March 29, 1973, the last 2,500 troups were withdrawn from South Vietnam, thus ending military involvement in what is now the longest war in our Country's history. It is time for all of us, in the spirit of pride and gratitude, to recall the heroic accomplishments of the men and women who survived and the 58,195 brave souls who fought and died. As President Kennedy said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the men and women it produces, but the ones it honors and the ones it remembers."
John Schroer, mayor
Growth and infrastructure are our two biggest issues. However, I am not looking for President-Elect Obama to solve these problems. Coming from a predominantly Republican state and an overwhelming Republican city, we traditionally believe that less federal involvement the better. I believe his number one challenge, even more important than the economy, is to bring this country together. I have never before seen the divisiveness that affects this country. I think he has the unique ability to help bridge the gap. I pray that he understands his importance in this task and that he looks past the partisan politics and focuses on what is right. I have heard people who know him say that he is a man that is determined to do what is right for America, regardless of the politics involved. Our country needs that more than ever and I believe he has been called to do just that.
Willie W. Herenton, mayor
Two issues I would like on President-elect Obama's to do list: Universal health care, and fix our economy.
Tommy Bragg, mayor
I encourage President-Elect Obama and Congress to partner with cities in the area of sustainability. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development defined sustainability as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Sustainability requires attention to four interdependent elements: environmental stewardship, economic development, social equity, and financial viability. As one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast, various city programs in the areas of land planning, public transportation, yard waste recycling and reclaimed water support our sustainability efforts. In a financially responsible manner, we encourage President Obama and Congress to assist local governments in sustainability efforts: investments in alterative fuel technologies, economic development initiatives for our downtowns and programs to assist us redevelop brownfields.
Karl Dean, mayor
I am optimistic that President-Elect Obama will want to invest more in urban areas of the country. I heard him speak over the summer to a group of mayors, and I believe, especially given his experience in Chicago, that he understands the unique issues that face urban America. I’d like to see an urban policy developed that includes investing in our cities’ infrastructure, our roads, bridges, water systems. Not only is this needed, but it’s also a job generator, and would help stimulate our economy. I’d also like to see a focus on helping local governments develop mass transit, which again will help the economy, but will also help lower our dependency on foreign oil.
Red Bank, TN
Joe Glasscock, mayor
1. If I had two 'wishes' post-election, my No. 1 would be that priority be given to national crises; i.e., education, unemployment, rather than fast-spending on undeveloped countries and space travel.
2. My No. 2 request would be that the president-elect work across party lines to ensure unification among all of us.
Bay City, TX
Richard Knapik, mayor
Bay City is the county seat of Matagorda County located on the Gulf Coast. We are home to one of the Texas's nuclear powered electric generating stations. The South Texas Nuclear Operating Company was the first to file its Combined Operating License with the NRC in September 2007. My question is this, will you continue to support the incentives for the nuclear industry created by the Bush administration to spur the building of new nuclear reactors in our country?
Ken Shetter, mayor
1. We should focus on building sustainable development infrastructure that will help get people out of cars and into alternate modes of transportation -- light rail, commuter rail, and safe pedistrian routes to schools.
2. think President-Elect Obama's plan to improve access to higher education is a good start, and his focus on community college access is spot-on. However, merely providing tax credits won't be helpful to struggling parents or students. I would propose a system that offered zero-interest loans to those who wanted to attend community college directly after high school graduation. In Burleson, Texas, we have a new program called the Burleson Opportunity Fund which offers scholarships to community college to high school graduates. In the first year we made scholarships available to every applicant. This issue is about more than just educational opportunity -- it is also about economic development and crime prevention.
Ronald F. Branson, mayor
1. Illegal immigration. This issue is a burden on a great many communities in our country. It is a drain on our public safety and related resources. It strains our school systems, hospitals, and public facilities. Identity theft runs rampant, and the number of license-less, insurance-less drivers is a horror. Our city has been approved for the Federal Homeland Security 287(g) program, but Federal funds need to be allocated to actually implement the approved resources. AMNESTY IS NOT THE ANSWER. Federal attention from a non-political viewpoint is urgent.
2. Stop mandates to local governments. Local citizens know what is best for them, and how to get the action they need from local officials. Maybe not so in large cities like Chicago and New York, but in mainstream America, it is an absolute truth. Items such as mandated collective bargaining for our public safety employees should be left to our citizens.
Del Rio, TX
Efrain Valdez, mayor
I would like to see a look at the guest worker program like the Bracero Program that was very successful in the 1950s. This would be part of a complete immigration reform.
Virginia DuPuy, mayor
Build bipartisan (shared) leadership in solving the economic crisis, and strengthen the heart of our nation.
Dennis Hooks, mayor
Congested power lines and wind-generated electricity. The escalating cost of electricity affects my citizens daily. While wind energy is more efficient, the cost of delivering that power is astronomical.
South Ogden, UT
George Garwood, mayor
1. Bring the country together. Remember, it is WE THE PEOPLE/ ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
2. The economy is so important to all of US as Americans.
Christopher C. Louras, mayor
1. Re-establish the WPA with the express purpose of rebuilding the antiquated public works infrastructure plaguing communities nationwide. Over half of Rutland City’s 90 miles of water mains are in excess of 100 years old. Their deteriorated condition affects public safety (through substandard firefighting capacity), public health (through potential catastrophic failure and contamination), and economic development efforts (because they cannot meet businesses’ needs). One specific main along U.S. Rte. 4 (one of the most developable tracts in Vermont) was cast and installed in 1858 by the men who three years later picked up their muskets to preserve the Union, and it is more a liability than an asset.
2. Work with Congress to restore Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant funding to pre-Bush levels. For communities like Rutland, drug-related violent crime has proved itself a truly interstate problem, requiring federal resources.
St. Albans, VT
Martin Manahan, mayor
I will make this simple: The President should put an executive order out that would relieve any municipality from the obligation of local matches to any federal earmarks, grants, etc., that the municpality has recieved. That would allow a number of projects to move forward immediately and would as a result stimulate the economy. We have a number pf projects that we could get started on but for the local match. I would also bet that these projects could be done for much less than originally thought, because of the economy and the competition for them. As a result, the same project would be done for the amount of the federal monies.
Ron Rordam, mayor
1. Climate change : Support and fund alternative energy sources, energy block grants and stronger CAFE standards.
2. Community Development Block Grants: Continue to support and fund this program.
Dave Norris, mayor
1. Support for revitalization of public housing. Our nation's stock of public housing is crumbling, and the federal government has been systematically disinvesting in its upkeep. We need increased funding and support for local efforts to transform public housing from pockets of poverty, crime and neglect to thriving, mixed-income, mixed-use communities with improved employment and housing opportunities for residents.
2. Support for transit. Improving our nation's public transportation system addresses several key challenges at once: It improves access to jobs and services for our residents, it reduces congestion on our roadways, and it reduces carbon emissions into our atmosphere. We need transit that goes more places more frequently, more reliably, more efficiently and in a more user-friendly manner. Cash-strapped localities need more help from the federal government to assist with the costs of making such improvements.
Brenda Pelham, mayor
1. The number 1 priority should be implementing strategies, policies, and whatever it will take to get our economy moving again. I believe we can do so by bringing American companies back home where they belong. It amazes me how American executives/owners of companies state "they love America." They really don't; they really love that $$$ bill more than America.
2. Second priority should be national security and getting out of wars. I am a 12-year veteran of the Army and I think an objective of any nation should be promoting peace not war!!!
3. If there was a third priority it should be education. It is my belief that the more educated any society is, the better it will be able to sustain itself in the out years. Education simply affords individual citizens to think better logically and be deterred from criminal activity including using and selling drugs.
Kristen Umstattd, mayor
1. My top issue: make health insurance and health care affordable for all Americans, especially children. All private health care insurance companies should be required to enroll children, regardless of whether a parent is also enrolled.
2. My second request would be to reform our foreigh trade agreements, among them NAFTA, so that companies that hire Americans would receive preferential tax or tariff treatment and those that outsource jobs to other countries would have to pay higher taxes and/or tariffs for any goods or services sold in the U.S.
Kathy Lawson, mayor
1. When President Elect Obama was in our city he talked about jobs. NAFTA took away all of our textile jobs and we are now losing furniture jobs by the day. Specifically, how do you plan to revitalize the job market?
2. There has been considerable discussion about health care for all citizens. As we know, Canada and France have a free health care system, but it has it's issues. Without crippling the small business owner, how do you plan to address health care for our uninsured citizens?
Tom Starnes, mayor
1. Get the economy moving forward. The economy is moving at a snail's pace, most major manufacturing segments of the economy are in decline, and as a result the unemployment rate is increasing. Sales in housing as well as retail are declining.
2. Get spending at the federal level under control. The Federal budget is a joke, for the fiscal year just ending spending drastically exceeding revenue. Next year (the current fiscal year), the deficit will be even greater. The giveaway programs of the federal government are a disgrace. If the federal government desires to stimulate the economy, create jobs by improving the nation's infrastructure -- do not just give individuals money for doing nothing. This is simply renewing the failed welfare programs of the past.
Cary Bozeman, mayor
1. Economic stimulus to support jobs and infrastructure. Much like the old WPA program. Must get to cities and local governments.
2. Get out of this war that is burning billions of dollars every month.
Kathryn Quade, mayor
I would suggest investment in repairing infrastructure: Sewer and Stormwater repairs and upgrades; elimination of inflow and infiltration; low-impact development incentives. Transportation projects to repair aging City streets. Completion of the SR 305/SR3 interchange at Olhava -- missing the southbound leg. Financial assistance (money into the funding pots -- public works trust fund, etc.) for public infrastructure projects and "green" money to support public green projects. Permanent funding for the Poulsbo Marine Science Center -- lifelong learning opportunities for all. The North Kitsap School District community pool -- maintenance and operations -- healthy alternatives for all.
Stacee Shawnee Sellers, mayor
1. Main Street stimulus. This package is imperative for local job retention and creation and infrastructure improvement. Our city has been growing quickly, and not had the funds available to make our infrastructure as sustainable, or long-term reliant as we'd like it to be. Continued funding is needed to assist small communities like mine to create the best live/work environments possible.
2. Energy efficiency and conservation block grant program. To let small cities like Washougal improve energy efficiency, lower energy usage, and reduce fossil fuel emissions we need government assistance. We need money for education, plan creation, and implementation. Without support from you, our president-elect, we will be unable to move forward and lower our impact on the natural resources found in our area and around the world.
Cleo Mathews, mayor
1. Economy. We are a small community. We are dependent on grant money for infrastructure imporvements that are badly needed.
2. The war. It has taken a tremendous toll on the economy, funds available for projects in this country. But more importantly, the human toll -- the casualties, the injuries, the strain on families of servicemen who have had up to four and fives tours of duty. West Virginia is a state that is well represented in military service. These folks take the brunt of what is happening to our overstretched military.
Green Bay, WI
James J. Schmitt, mayor
1. The city of Green Bay has been a leader in promoting sustainability and energy efficiency. What steps will President Obama's administration take to create "green" jobs (alternative energy production, LEED Design) in the Midwest for cities like Green Bay, and will he provide adequate funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for Green Bay to build on its progress?
2. What are your plans for enforcing the Great Lakes Compact, and what agenda will you put forward to help the economic development of port cities, like Green Bay, on the Great Lakes?
Dave Cieslewicz, mayor
1. Infrastructure package: Help rebuild the infrastructure that helps support our cities. Across the country, much of the post-WWII infrastructure is beginning to crumble and needs federal support to begin that rebuilding now.
2. Create green jobs: Take advantage of solar, wind and even high-speed rail technologies to create green jobs in our communities.
George Scherck, mayor
1. What are you going to do to jump start the economy? Getting the economy on track means the housing market will pick back up, local industry will have access to credit to meet payroll and consider expansion that will bring new jobs to the community.
2. How are you going to resolve the problem in Iraq? Resolving the Iraq issue means dollars will be diverted to America but above all our young men and women will return home safely.
River Falls, WI
Don Richards, mayor
1. Continue to take measures to restore economic health. We had one small industry in town, which made plastic parts for automobiles, close, losing over 75 jobs. Nearby, in Bayport, Minn., the home of Andersen Windows, jobs are being eliminated because of the housing slowdown. Many people commute there for jobs, but are now losing them.
2. Emphasize "green" jobs, development. We have a new industry in town, Air Motion Systems, which just built in our industrial park. They will soon be LEED certified. But that's just the beginning. We need more. Promote legislation which encourages energy savings and renewable sources of energy.
Stevens Point, WI
Andrew Halverson, mayor
BY FAR!! If there is to be a new economic stimulus package, IT MUST BE TARGETED TOWARD INFRASTRUCTURE. We could accomplish two goals simultaneously as a nation: 1. Put people to work in good paying jobs, and 2. Fix what is simply the greatest "silent crisis" facing this country: our roads, bridges, water systems, as well as our sewer systems. Not to mention the need for new school buildings as well. Let's create a 21st century WPA that not only stimulates the economy but produces long term solutions at the same time. What are we going to do with another check besides pay down personal debt the country already owes. Let's stimulate and build at the same time. That seems to me to be a good use of $300-400 billion.
Helen Johnson, mayor
1. Economy. We are seeing people lose their jobs. Uniroyal, a local firm who makes automotive and furniture upholstery, has laid off 1/3 of their 150 employees. Other local industries have cut back, as well. Retailers are hurting. We are seeing 91 home foreclosures in our zip code area. People have lost much of their retirement accounts and investments. There is fear in the lives of the people who live here, the economic future is looking bleak. I don't have answers, but I hope our new president and his advisers do.
2. Iraq War. We have spent too many lives and too much money on a war that was started as looking for weapons of mass destruction and terrorists. The Middle East has always been a hotbed. It's time to ease out!
Green River, WY
Henry Castillion, mayor
The biggest Issues facing our communities in Wyoming and especially the City of Green River is resources to improve old infrastructure (sewer, water, streets and roads). The same applies to future growth for our communities. Presently, water expansion systems and land acquisitions from the federal government (BLM public lands in particular). Most important is developing waster infrastructure.
Rock Springs, WY
Timothy A. Kaumo, mayor
1. Immediately pull together a qualified team to deal with the failing economy of our great nation by developing our own natural resources, including wind energy and nuclear energy and cease our dependency on foreign oil. Work to resolve the ability for companies to allow CEO's to acquire such huge salaries/bonuses at the expense of the taxpayers. This team would be tasked with finding a fair and logical tax base for every individual in our country. No tax breaks for the wealthy and a halt to taxing the middle-class to death to make up the shortfalls.
2. Wrap up our war on terrorism and bring our troops home. Secure our borders and deport any person without U.S. Citizenship or at least working to become a citizen of the U.S. and require that everyone learn English as it is our language. Require anyone receiving a welfare check to pass a drug test at the minimum.
© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints