More than 80 U.S. mayors met with President Obama Friday, the day after the president signed an executive order creating the White House Office of Urban Affairs (OUA). OUA will coordinate policies on urban development across all executive offices of the president.
The mayors, under the leadership of Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors ( ) President Manny Diaz, met with Obama and Vice President Biden, along with several other members of Obama's cabinet. The meeting was held to discuss cities' role in implementing the recently passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and how to get money from the stimulus plan flowing to cities. They then went to the nearby Capitol Hilton to meet with U.S. Administrator Lisa Jackson, Department of Energy Weatherization Program Director Gil Sperling and Department of Justice COPS Office Acting Director Tim Quinn.
The creation of OUA is an effort to make up for the insufficient attention paid to urban problems in the past, according to Obama's order. "About 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas, and the economic health and social vitality of our urban communities are critically important to the prosperity and quality of life for Americans," the order says. "Forward-looking policies that encourage wise investment and development in our urban areas will create employment andopportunities and make our country more competitive, prosperous and strong."
More information on the USCM meeting with Obama is available on USCM's Web site.