African American Mayors Cite Tremendous Concerns with President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610

(Washington, DC) – On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to President Trump’s infrastructure plan:

“My colleagues and I are disappointed that President Trump failed to honor his promise to invest one trillion dollars in the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. His most recent plan is inadequate in the overall infrastructure funding it commits to provide, and especially inadequate in its lack of attention to the urgent infrastructure crisis facing American cities.

“The President’s plan purports to leverage state and local tax dollars, and private investment, to catapult a $200 billion federal government investment to a total of $1.5 trillion. But, the details of the plan do not support the viability of that goal for the vast majority of cities across the country. In reality, the plan only injects $200 billion of federal money for infrastructure improvements across the country, not the $1.5 trillion touted by the President.

“A key tenet of the President’s plan requires cities and states to demonstrate that they can match new federal dollars flowing their way. However, it is mathematically impractical, and fiscally irresponsible for midsize and small cities to generate the tax revenue and private investment they would need to be able to match the federal money. These cities do not have the populations, budgets, and corporate stakeholders their big city peers can leverage. Their circumstances make it far more difficult for them to raise enough tax and private money to meet the President’s requirements.

“Additionally, the plan does not cede enough control to city leaders to prioritize and allocate the meager funding the plan provides. Every day, mayors navigate the consequences of decades of federal underinvestment in cities. Mayors of the AAMA are on the ground and know best how to bring their cities into the 21st century. Yet, they are forced to navigate a patchwork of state laws that limit their authority to take action.

“According to the American Society for Civil Engineers (ASCE), it will take $2 trillion to secure modern and viable infrastructure across the nation. Absent that level of investment, ASCE predicts $3.9 trillion in losses to the GDP, $7 trillion in lost business sales, and 2.5 million lost jobs over the next ten years. Accordingly, AAMA-members urge President Trump to act swiftly to avoid these severe economic consequences. The success of this plan will require that he acknowledge the central role cities play in the nation’s economic competitiveness, and honor his promise to dedicate enough federal money to sufficiently address urban infrastructure needs.”

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African American Mayors Respond to the State of the Union Address

For Immediate Release: January 31, 2018
Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610
African American Mayors Respond to the State of the Union Address

WASHINGTON, DC – Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) released the following statement on behalf of more than 500 black mayors across the country in response to the State of the Union address.

“President Trump confidently declared that the state of the union is strong in his speech last night. But, as mayors, we see a different reality on the ground in our cities.

“So far, the President’s policy proposals haven’t done enough to ensure that every American has an equal opportunity to thrive. To the contrary, these policies are on track to exacerbate the economic, health, and employment challenges so many are struggling to overcome.

The President continues to promise that the recent tax reform bill will provide tremendous relief to families, but the bill mostly benefits the super wealthy and harms low-income Americans who will see their taxes increase overtime. The President’s tax bill actually harms American cities by  eliminating critical funding generated by state and local tax deductions which funds infrastructure projects, and ensures that citizens from a range of socio-economic backgrounds have access to the best possible educational opportunities. We cannot see how the President’s plan will deliver on his promise.

On the campaign trail, and in President Trump’s State of the Union address, he claimed that he will improve our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. But, his budget proposal slashes infrastructure programs that are crucial to the continued vitality of our cities. These infrastructure cuts include eliminating the Highway Trust Fund, and the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which serves as a lifeline for nearly seven million families in communities struggling to pay for basic energy needs.

Finally, the President maintained his rebuke of hardworking immigrants by citing criminals and gang members as the justification for his shameful immigration policy. Nearly 44 million immigrants currently reside in the U.S., over 20 million of whom are naturalized citizens. Thirty six percent of U.S.-born children of immigrants are college graduates – five percent higher than the national average – and sixty four percent are homeowners, which is on-par with the national average. Immigrants are our neighbors, colleagues and friends. They are productive members of our society struggling to thrive in a system stacked against them. It is un-American to attack them. And, that’s why we are committed to protecting them when and how we can.”

We look forward to working with the President on these and a host of other issues that are important to the sustainability of our cities, and the prosperity of our constituents.

African American Mayors Vow to Protect Immigrants

For Immediate Release: January 27, 2018

Contact: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871
Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610

AFRICAN AMERICAN MAYORS VOW TO PROTECT IMMIGRANTS

WASHINGTON, DC – Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA) released the following statement on behalf of more than 500 black mayors across the country.

“This nation has always been a melting pot of people from different countries, different ethnicities and different races. Rather than celebrating this diversity, the current Administration continues to attack immigrants and people of color, many of whom have spent their entire lives in the U.S. and do not know another home. Nearly 44 million immigrants currently reside in the U.S. Over 20 million of them are naturalized citizens. Thirty six percent of U.S.-born children of immigrants are college graduates – five percent higher than the national average – and sixty four percent are homeowners, which is on-par with the national average. Immigrants are our neighbors, colleagues and friends and are productive members of our society.

“Mayors have an obligation to defend the cities they are elected to serve, and protect society’s most vulnerable citizens. The rhetoric coming out of the White House is disheartening and offensive to the hardworking immigrants living and working legally across the country. The cities we represent are not ridden with gangs, cartels and criminals as this Administration claims. In fact, a 2017 Cato Institute study found that the 2014 incarceration rate for 18 to 54 year-old immigrants—both authorized and unauthorized—was considerably lower than that of the U.S.-born population.

“It’s time this Administration holds itself to a higher standard. This is not a country of racists and bigots. We are a country that proudly houses a diverse population, each with a unique background and story. It is un-American to attack immigrants and the people seeking to protect them. We stand with the hundreds of mayors who want their cities to remain safe places for immigrants to call home. Our communities will continue to safeguard American values, and remain welcoming places for all, for the sake of our security and our national character.”

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AAMA: Statement on Federal Tax Plan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 22, 2017African American Mayors Association Calls on Congress to Fix Current Tax Plan Black Mayors speak out against tax plan that will hurt cities

CONTACT: Donald Gatlin, dgatlin@rabengroup.com, 202-587-2871

      Evan Martinez, emartinez@rabengroup.com, 202-223-2610

WASHINGTON – 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 as the U.S. Senate considers a new tax plan:

 

“AAMA strongly supports the concerns that Mayor Bowser, the National League of Cities and our other national partners have expressed about the current tax bill under consideration in Congress. Cities are at the forefront of delivering services to American citizens and the current bill undermines the local control conservatives herald with proposals of dubious merit. This bill helps the super wealthy and harms low-income Americans who will see their taxes increase under this plan. The congressional Joint Tax Committee predicts this plan will lead to a tax increase on people making less than $30,000 in 2021 and on all American making under $75,000 in 2027.  Also, in an effort to gut the Affordable Care Act, the bill  repeals the mandate for most Americans to buy health insurance.”

 

“The economic vitality, and future growth, of American cities is inextricably linked to measures such as state and local tax (SALT) deductions, and critical tax credits such as the New Markets Tax Credit, neither of which are in this proposal. These measures help to secure affordable housing for low-income citizens, provide critical funds for infrastructure projects, and ensure that citizens from a range of socio-economic backgrounds have access to the best possible educational opportunities. The elimination of these deductions and tax credits directly interferes with already stretched state and local infrastructure and school related funding and investments.”

 

“We would prefer a tax plan that rewards hard working Americans, invests in underserved communities and limits deficit spending. Instead, we have the reverse so we will work with Mayor Bowser, and mayors throughout the country, to advocate for changes that benefit millions of Americans who would suffer under this unfair tax plan that heavily favors the wealthy.”

 

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African American Mayors Association Statement on Las Vegas Shooting

(Washington, DC) On behalf of the 500 African American mayors across the country, Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT and President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), released the following statement in response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas:

 

“I join 500 African American mayors across the country to offer condolences for the families of the 58 innocents killed in this week’s Las Vegas shooting. We hope and pray for a swift recovery for the more than 500 injured. Also, we offer our deepest gratitude to the police officers, first responders, hospital personnel and everyday citizens whose swift and caring action saved lives.

 

“While we keep these families and victims in our thoughts and prayers, this is also a time for firm conviction and decisive action. Las Vegas was the 8th mass shooting this year, and the 162nd since 2009. Comprehensive gun reform legislation, that increases public safety while respecting constitutional freedoms, is long overdue. Congress should start by voting against the SHARE Act, which would make it easier to purchase gun silencers, and by passing legislation to ban gun parts that give semi-automatic weapons the same lethality as automatic ones. As always, mayors will continue the fight to make our cities safer. Enough is enough.”

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MAYOR IN DISBELIEF FOLLOWING PRESIDENT’S COMMENTS ABOUT CHARLOTTESVILLE TRAGEDY

Gary stands with Charlottesville: Unity March and Vigil on Monday, August 28 at City Hall

By: Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson

On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, I was overwhelmed with emotions of disbelief, sadness and fear, as I listened to an intemperate President Donald Trump retreat from his reluctant condemnation of white supremacy.  In opining about the tragedy in Charlottesville, VA, a man who holds an office that has often been referred to as “the leader of the free world” equated the vitriolic hatred spewed by the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in Virginia to peaceful counter protestors who sought to convey a message that intolerance has no place in this country.  He seemed oblivious to the fact that Heather Heyer had lost her life at the hands of someone who had traveled halfway across the country to salute Hitler, castigate Jews and engage in aggressive behavior.

There was a bit of irony associated with the fact that I missed the President’s comments because I was consumed with the work of my narrowly focused day.  I am not saying that I was wrong to be attentive to the needs of a challenged community.  I am simply saying that there is an inherent danger in being so consumed with our own issues that we miss the implication of national issues on our everyday lives and work.   

I found the President’s support of the actions of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis hard to believe because it is so inconsistent with the journey that we have travelled as a country over the course of the last few centuries.  Does he really believe “there is blame on both sides?” Does he really believe this is a figment of the “fake media’s” imagination when people marched and chanted “Jews will not replace us?” Is he truly that beholden to those who purvey hatred? I was saddened because I was forced to face the reality that while we have seemingly travelled far, we have so many more miles to go.

But I am also fearful because I understand the ability of hate to spread like a cancer through communities, states and this country.  I believe this is especially dangerous considering the divisive national climate already created by a political campaign that seemed to seize on peoples’ aversion and negativity towards others.  Our moral compass has already been endangered.  How do we continue to survive continued threats?

After reflecting through the course of a restless night, I have concluded that each of us has a responsibility to step out of the comfort zone of our daily routines.  Because the President has abdicated his responsibility of moral leadership on this issue, we must remain vigilant in our own neighborhoods and cities to ensure that bigotry and hatred receive no air time, both figuratively and literally.  Our job is not only to condemn those sentiments that fly in the face of our democracy, it is to promote tolerance and love of all people and freedom and justice for all.  We owe that tribute to the struggles of our ancestors, Heather Heyer and others who have lost their lives.  More importantly we owe that example to our children.  

To this end, the city of Gary and the Gary Human Relations Commission is inviting all of Northwest Indiana to join us for a Unity March and Vigil on Monday, August 28, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. We will begin at 9th and Broadway and continue to the steps of City Hall.  We will stand with the community of Charlottesville, but we will also send a message of unity to all of Northwest Indiana and for all to see.  

Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

(Washington, DC) In response to the events in Charlottesville, Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), announced the organization’s five-point response plan. The full text of the plan is below.

“As more information about the events in Charlottesville becomes available, it is clear that the response from President Trump has been inadequate and disappointing,” said Mayor Harp. “If we cannot count on this Administration to unequivocally disavow such vile hate groups, state and local governments must lead the way.

“I urge all mayors and governors to adopt AAMA’s five point response plan which calls for: the immediate removal of confederate and nazi symbols; the removal from federal office Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller whose ideological extremism emboldens white supremacists; the provision of additional resources for law enforcement to identify hate groups; all corporations to stop the dissemination of tools of hate on their platforms; and for all public officials to disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.”

Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

1. Confederate and Nazi Symbols: We urge all cities and state legislatures to remove symbols of the Confederacy, Nazism, and other white supremacist groups from public spaces, which serve the joint purpose of intimidating citizens and emboldening such hate groups. We commend the cities of New Orleans, Baltimore, Lexington and others that have taken swift action;

2. Federal Action: We call on President Trump to (i) remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller for their ideological extremism that emboldens white supremacist and other hate groups; (ii) fully restore Countering Violent Extremism funds to combat white supremacists and neo-Nazis; and (iii) launch a coordinated federal effort in conjunction with local law enforcement officials to eliminate the growing threat from white supremacists;

3. Resources for Law Enforcement: We call on the federal government and local elected officials to direct additional law enforcement resources to (i) the identification and elimination of white supremacist, neo-Nazis and and other hate groups and related incidences of violence; and (ii) additional training of police officers for crowd and protest management;

4. Corporate Accountability: We call for a boycott of companies and vendors that advertise on radical websites and we urge all elected officials to work with influential companies to address ways to limit the influence of hate groups on their platforms. We commend companies such as Airbnb that have taken affirmative actions against white supremacist causes on their platforms; and

5. Get out the vote in 2018: We encourage all eligible persons to get registered to vote and demand any person running for elected office promote the causes of equality and justice and disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.

    

Statements from Mayor Toni Harp and Mayor Sylvester Turner on Houston Flooding

Statement by Mayor Harp of African American Mayors Association On Houston Flooding

For Immediate Release: August 31, 2017

(Washington, DC) Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), issued the following statement today on the flooding in Houston, TX:

“The people of greater Houston will be recovering from the havoc wrought by Hurricane Harvey for years. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those touched by the flooding during this difficult time. As painful as it is to see the disastrous effects of climate change play out before our eyes, it is heartening to see the way that Houstonians and people across the country are coming together in this moment to conduct rescues, lend support and resources, and care for neighbors and strangers alike.

“We commend Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, an AAMA member, on his remarkable and straightforward leadership at this difficult time. A natural disaster is unquestionably one of the greatest challenges any mayor must face: Mayor Turner remains committed to open lines of communication, keeping emergency management systems working, and caring for the people of Houston. We stand ready to help and will keep those affected in our thoughts and prayers.”

 

Mayor Turner Establishes Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

HOUSTON – After receiving an overwhelming number of inquiries from citizens and corporations who would like to help, Mayor Sylvester Turner has established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund that will accept tax deductible flood relief donations. The fund is administered by the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

“We are getting calls from across the country and right here in our hometown, and the generosity of people who understand this disaster is truly amazing,” said Mayor Turner. “Together we can make a difference to those who will need extensive help to get back on their feet once this storm is over.”

Methods to Donate:

Online Credit Card Donations: Visit www.ghcf.org. Online credit card donations will be assessed a small fee, typically 3%, by the credit card companies. Donors have the option of increasing their credit card donations to cover this fee.

Checks/Money Orders: Mail to Greater Houston Community Foundation, 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000, Houston, TX 77056.

Transfer Cash by Wire: Wire To: JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A.
Houston, TX
ABA # 021000021
For credit to: Greater Houston Community Foundation
A/C#: 849170287
For further credit to: Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund

For stocks, corporate bonds and other marketable securities, please contact:  donorservices@ghcf.org

Thank you for your consideration. Your support means a great deal to our fellow Houstonians.

African American Mayors Association Announces Five-Point Plan to Stand Against Hate

For Immediate Release: August 18, 2017
Contact: Mia Jacobs, mjacobs@rabengroup.com, 201-919-0333

African American Mayors Association Announces Five-Point Plan
to Stand Against Hate

Remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller from the White House and bring down Confederate Symbols

(Washington, DC) In response to the events in Charlottesville, Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), announced the organization’s five-point response plan. The full text of the plan is below.

“As more information about the events in Charlottesville becomes available, it is clear that the response from President Trump has been inadequate and disappointing,” said Mayor Harp. “If we cannot count on this Administration to unequivocally disavow such vile hate groups, state and local governments must lead the way.

“I urge all mayors and governors to adopt AAMA’s five point response plan which calls for: the immediate removal of confederate and nazi symbols; the removal from federal office Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller whose ideological extremism emboldens white supremacists; the provision of additional resources for law enforcement to identify hate groups; all corporations to stop the dissemination of tools of hate on their platforms; and for all public officials to disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.”

Charlottesville Five-Point Response Plan For Cities

1. Confederate and Nazi Symbols: We urge all cities and state legislatures to remove symbols of the Confederacy, Nazism, and other white supremacist groups from public spaces, which serve the joint purpose of intimidating citizens and emboldening such hate groups. We commend the cities of New Orleans, Baltimore, Lexington and others that have taken swift action;

2. Federal Action: We call on President Trump to (i) remove Sebastian Gorka and Stephen Miller for their ideological extremism that emboldens white supremacist and other hate groups; (ii) fully restore Countering Violent Extremism funds to combat white supremacists and neo-Nazis; and (iii) launch a coordinated federal effort in conjunction with local law enforcement officials to eliminate the growing threat from white supremacists;

3. Resources for Law Enforcement: We call on the federal government and local elected officials to direct additional law enforcement resources to (i) the identification and elimination of white supremacist, neo-Nazis and and other hate groups and related incidences of violence; and (ii) additional training of police officers for crowd and protest management;

4. Corporate Accountability: We call for a boycott of companies and vendors that advertise on radical websites and we urge all elected officials to work with influential companies to address ways to limit the influence of hate groups on their platforms. We commend companies such as Airbnb that have taken affirmative actions against white supremacist causes on their platforms; and

5. Get out the vote in 2018: We encourage all eligible persons to get registered to vote and demand any person running for elected office promote the causes of equality and justice and disavow hate and racial violence as a prerequisite for running for office.

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Statement by Mayor Harp of African American Mayors Association on the White Supremacist Attacks in Charlottesville

 

(Washington, DC) Mayor Toni Harp, President of the African American Mayors Association (AAMA), issued the following statement today on the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia:

 

“As President of the African American Mayors Association and the Mayor of New Haven, CT, I condemn bigotry and hatred in all forms. We will learn more about the details of what occurred in Charlottesville, but it is clear—what we have seen this weekend is a reminder of a dark chapter in American history. The car that plowed through a group of peaceful civilians appears to be an act of domestic terrorism. If that proves to be the case, we call on city, state, and federal officials to pursue that offender with the full force of the law. We also express our condolences for the lives lost from the crash of a state police helicopter monitoring the situation.”

 

“Those of us who work in politics debate over policies, tactics, and priorities everyday. That is not what the mob in Virginia was engaged in this weekend. This white nationalist movement by— the ‘Alt-right,’ Neo-Nazi, and white supremacists—challenges the very foundation of our civilization. Will we value every citizen? Will all Americans have a chance to participate in the benefits of our country? How we choose to answer these questions will determine the future of American life.  The African American Mayors Association stands with those on the side of freedom, justice, and equality and against those rallying for hate.”

 

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