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ORLANDO, FL — The presidential gavel was officially handed to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter today by outgoing USCM President Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa, appointing him head of the organization during the 80th Annual Meeting of The United States Conference of Mayors in Orlando.
During the gathering, mayors from cities large and small met to discuss a broad range of policy issues impacting America's cities including the economy, job creation, defense transition, infrastructure, and the presidential campaign and its potential impact in the nation's metro regions. As Conference President, Mayor Nutter will set the organization's agenda, appoint committee and task force chairs and serve as the national spokesperson.
In his inaugural remarks, Mayor Nutter acknowledged that America's metropolitan areas are responsible for nearly 90% of the nation's GDP and 85% of jobs, and spoke to the ability of mayors to work together in bipartisan fashion to get things done. "Mayors don't have the luxury of endless debate and gridlock. We respond, every day, to the needs of cities – our residents. … We are leaders — doers. … This can be a jarring idea in today's America when our congressional leaders can't seem to agree on anything."
Mayor Nutter also announced a new program through Bloomberg Philanthropies for mayors across the United States to encourage volunteerism in America. The Cities of Service Impact Volunteering Fund will provide competitive grants ranging $25,000 to $100,000 for cities to promote the power of service. "Civic engagement is one of America's greatest strengths. … We need to tap into this extraordinary resource — and I know many cities are doing just that," explained Nutter when sharing the news with the mayors.
To view Mayor Nutter's full speech, visit www.usmayors.org.
Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The U.S. Conference of Mayors said of Mayor Nutter, "We are pleased to have Mayor Nutter as the head of this organization. Mayor Nutter understands the collective power of mayors to move the country forward at a time when it is most needed, and his quick ascension to the Presidency of the Conference speaks to his ability to lead among his peers."
Prior to becoming the Conference's President, Mayor Nutter served as Vice President of the organization over the past year. He also served on the Jobs, Education and Workforce Committee, the Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports Committee, as well as the Hunger and Homelessness Task Force, the Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force and the Mayors' Water Council.
At the concluding session of the meeting, the mayors debated and voted on policy recommendations to present to the Administration. The mayors unanimously passed a resolution in full support of the Dream Act. The day before, President Obama also announced policy to end the deportation of certain young immigrants (including students and members of the military) making them eligible to work in this country.
Other policy that sparked debate among the mayors, but ultimately passed, were resolutions calling on Congress and the Administration to settle the nation's debt problem, supporting EPA rules on mercury reduction, and urging the Drug Enforcement Agency to reclassify medical marijuana as a Schedule II controlled substance (an accepted drug with medical use and treatment). The full listing of adopted resolutions can be found at www.usmayors.org.
United States Vice President Joe Biden addressed the bipartisan group Friday morning, June 15th. Other noted speakers included: HUD Secretary Donovan, Educ. Secretary Duncan, Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA), and Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Newly elected leadership appointed during the meeting is as follows: President: Philadelphia, PA Mayor Michael Nutter, Vice President: Mesa, AZ Mayor Scott Smith, Second Vice President: Sacramento, CA Mayor Kevin Johnson, Trustees: Columbia, SC Mayor Stephen Benjamin, New Orleans, LA Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Advisory Board: Rochester Hills, MI Mayor Bryan Barnett, Jackson, FL Mayor Alvin Brown and Dallas, TX Mayor Michael Rawlings.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,210 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.