Mayor Eugene W. Grant was elected to serve a fourth term making him the longest serving mayor in the history of Seat Pleasant. Serving more than 30 years in non-profit community development and city governance, Mayor Grant leads with a results-oriented approach. Mayor Grant is leading the charge to move the City of Seat Pleasant […]
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For Immediate Release: May 4, 2017
Contact: Donald Gatlin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-587-2871
Mia Jacobs, email@example.com, 202-930-6818
AFRICAN AMERICAN MAYORS ASSOCIATION STATEMENT ON THE AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT
WASHINGTON, DC— On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Mayor Toni Harp, of New Haven, CT, and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to today’s House of Representatives vote on the American Health Care Act:
“My colleagues and I condemn the House’s action today on health care. The House bill jeopardizes health insurance coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions and limits the health benefits available to people covered by the Affordable Care Act. At the same time, this bill decimates the Medicaid program. It cuts federal Medicaid payments to the states by $880 billion over 10 years and will cause some 10 million people to lose Medicaid coverage.
We do not want to go back to a time when Medicaid funding was too limited to fulfill the program’s intended purposes. We do not want to see families of children born with preexisting conditions face skyrocketing premiums and exceed lifetime caps, because Congress put politics before families. As a result, our cities will be forced to curtail services to children, the disabled and the elderly, and there will be a dramatic decline in the ability of our hospitals and clinics—both public and private—to treat and prevent a host of serious conditions—diabetes, opioid abuse, and mental illness among them. Healthcare provides for a healthier workforce, which drives the local economies that are the bedrock of our national prosperity. As of today, the health of that workforce is threatened.”
Congress should put families first. We urge the Senate to reject this misguided legislation.”
To be an African-American mayor leading a city in the 21st century is not about “power” but about “possibilities.” With more than 470 African-American mayors leading cities across the United States, the lens of our leadership is shaped from our own personal experiences. Together, we collectively bring a perspective that allows for a spectrum of possibilities.
As city leaders, it is our obligation to ensure the fiscal responsibility of taxpayers’ contributions towards city operations, as well as address the pension liabilities of a city’s police, fire and civilian workforce. These very important, and very complicated issues, are just a few of the priorities mayors must tackle. There is urgency in every moment, and expediency required in every decision. But, we must be cautious not to become so caught up in the process of managing cities that we lose sight of the importance of being mayors of color, and the significance our governance has on our communities.
Since I became the mayor of the City of Houston in January 2016, one of my spectra of possibilities is building complete communities. To that end, I’ve created a Complete Communities Program, which is designed to proactively support underserved communities, their residents, and the businesses in their areas. These communities have been plagued by years of generational poverty and the issues that come with this very destructive intergenerational cycle, such as low literacy rates and high percentages of individuals involved in our justice system. Compounding these issues are the pressures of things such as gentrification and substantial adverse changes due to major public infrastructure improvements.
However, the title of “Mayor” is not who I am. Who I am is a prime example of a “better tomorrow.” Growing up in one of the targeted areas in the Complete Communities Program, I faced many challenges, but my mother always told my siblings and I that “tomorrow will be better than today.” With that instilled in me, I had a drive and determination to not only dream big, but to take advantage of the opportunities presented to me in order to make those dreams come true. Who I am allows me to know that the Complete Communities Program is not just a choice, it’s a matter of conviction, which will ultimately lead to making an impact felt well beyond my tenure.
As the steward and overseer of the City of Houston, I am leveraging our resources, community partners, business leadership and other public partners to focus on neighborhood-level actions that will collectively foster economic opportunities and neighborhood vitality throughout various communities in Houston. We are investing in communities that have historically not been prioritized for economic development, which consequently resulted in a disparity of resources.
Some of the program’s explicit goals are to organize around the geographic dimensions of problems and create thriving commercial areas, successful neighborhood businesses, and equitable access to quality jobs throughout our city. Another foundational component that cannot be ignored is the importance of investing in education. My obligation to transform the circumstances in our communities requires that education—at all levels—be a critical component and have a high impact.
This strategy will build on best practices and community-driven approaches that can successfully position our neighborhoods, local businesses, and residents to connect to and compete in the City’s booming economy. This collaborative approach to neighborhood economic development intends to build partnerships for implementation and ensures that the implementation process reflects community priorities and strengthens communities from within. Communities are places with vibrant retail, quality affordable housing, neighborhood parks and access to good schools—the end result of our efforts.
For many of our stakeholders, we are viewed as new hope and new opportunities for all, regardless of who they are and where they come from. Our visions for our cities’ futures have to be seeped into the importance of bridging gaps and creating opportunities for citizens, to not only survive, but to thrive. We do this, not only out of obligation to our cities, but for the promise of possibilities coming to fruition for a constituency that has long been ignored.
To be an African-American mayor at the helm of a city is indeed a marvelous feat—one that undoubtedly is the result of beating incredible odds, which is all the more reason why we must lead with a conviction and commitment for transformation. Leading in this current time, against the backdrop of strained community-police relations, voting rights challenges, waning interest in social justice and equitable access to resources, requires that we are nimble and strategic in our approach to leading our cities. Together, with our unique personal experiences and backgrounds, we are best poised to realize the gains that are necessary for successful cities.
***As featured in the National Urban Leagues’ State of Black America***
The following is a statement by Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO, president of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA):
“Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee has confirmed Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States. The African American Mayors Association is ready to work with him as our nation’s chief law enforcement officer to ensure that all members of our communities are afforded safety and justice.
AAMA has been actively involved in reforming our criminal justice system with stakeholders nationwide. It is our hope that Attorney General Sessions will continue the path of reform including ensuring sentencing is fair, particularly for first-time nonviolent offenders; allocating appropriate resources in the federal prison system to reduce recidivism; prioritizing positive community policing practices by strengthening the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS); initiating swift and thorough investigation of officer-involved shootings through the Civil Rights Division when appropriate; and keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
While we share concern about Sessions’ past statements and legislative history, AAMA will work tirelessly as an accountability partner to ensure that the office of the Attorney General seeks justice for all American people equally.
AAMA Members signed the below letter led by Seattle, WA Mayor Ed Murray
Dear Chairman Grassley and Ranking Member Feinstein:
We write to express our deep concerns about the record of President-elect Trump’s nominee for Attorney General of the United States, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL). We urge a thorough vetting of Sen. Sessions’ policy positions, especially those that we believe will be detrimental to the country’s progress towards becoming more inclusive and our cities’ efforts to create strong and safe communities.
Diversity is rapidly increasing in our cities, in part, due to immigration. We believe this growth and integration in our communities promotes a more vibrant economy and life for all our citizens. However, with changing demographics, we must also work to promote and encourage trust between the public and law enforcement. Senator Sessions’ legislative record lacks a commitment to these goals, and to upholding civil rights for all. And, as a result, we question whether Senator Sessions can fairly lead an agency charged with protecting the constitutional and civil rights of rights of all Americans.
Senator Sessions has consistently opposed bipartisan efforts to reform our immigration policies despite his consistent criticism of the status quo. Moreover, he opposes any path to citizenship for people illegally brought to the U.S. as children by their parents, known as Dreamers. Additionally, Senator Sessions has also aligned himself with several anti-immigration groups, such as NumbersUSA.
Given Senator Sessions’ history and the critical issues under the Department of Justice’s jurisdiction, we believe that Senator Sessions is unable to fairly enforce our nation’s laws and will not work to advance justice and equality. We encourage you to oppose Senator Sessions nomination to serve as Attorney General of the United States.
Mayor Ed Murray (Seattle, WA)
Mayor Sly James (Kansas City, MO)
Mayor Toni Harp (New Haven, CT)
Mayor Ed Lee (San Francisco, CA)
Mayor Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis, MN)
Mayor Bill Bell (Durham, NC)
Mayor Leon Rockingham, Jr. (North Chicago, IL)
Mayor McKinley Price (Newport News, VA)
Mayor William Johnson (Holly Hill, SC)
Mayor Mario Avery (Fairburn, GA)
Mayor Jacqueline Goodall (Forest Heights, MD)
Mayor Harold Thompson (Union, South Carolina)
Mayor Beverly Young (Village of Vandalia, MI)
Mayor Wayne Messam (Miramar, FL)
Mayor Ras Baraka (Newark, NJ)
Mayor Adrian Mapp (Plainfield, NJ)