States and Localities: 'Hey, Remember Us?'

The leaders of the "Big 7" state and local government groups released a statement calling on the next president to pay more attention to states and localities in drafting policy.
by | September 30, 2008
 

The leaders of the "Big 7" state and local government groups -- National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) -- yesterday released a statement calling on the next president to pay more attention to states and localities in drafting policy.

The federal-state-local partnership is vital to ensuring the general welfare and well-being of our citizens and our country. As a new administration begins, it is important to recognize that the foundation of this partnership must be developed early and continuously nurtured and strengthened. To promote this relationship, the leaders of state and local government ask the next president to follow two main guiding principles.

The first is to consult and cooperate with state and local leaders. We are on the frontlines everyday and know the effect of national policies and programs on the delivery of services to our citizens. We ask the next administration to adopt a policy of constructive engagement with state and local government to gather relevant information about existing issues, build on innovative programs already in place at the state and local level and ensure national policies are implemented in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

Second, we encourage the next Administration to promote innovation at the state and local level. State and local leaders can respond more quickly and experiment more widely than our federal partners. We urge the new president to strive for federal policy that encourages this innovation by maximizing state and local flexibility as we implement national policies and programs.

Clearly, these groups are hoping for a better working relationship than the one they've had with George W. Bush. States and localities have been hit with far more mandates than they expected from a former governor. Full release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 29, 2008

STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS CALL ON NEXT ADMINISTRATION TO PRIORITIZE FEDERAL-STATE-LOCAL PARTNERSHIP

Senators McCain and Obama Urged to Consult States, Locals When Setting National Policy

PHILADELPHIA--The elected leadership of the National Governors Association (NGA), the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the Council of State Governments (CSG), the National Association of Counties (NACo), the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National League of Cities (NLC) and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) - known as the "Big 7" - joined together in Philadelphia today to highlight the important roles state and local government leaders play in solving national issues and call on the next president to actively engage these leaders when determining national policy.

The following statement was issued by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell, NGA; Representative Donna Stone, NCSL; Representative Bob Godfrey, CSG; Supervisor Don Stapley, NACo; Mayor Doug Palmer, USCM, Mayor Kathleen Novak, NLC; and City Manager David Limardi, ICMA.

"The federal-state-local partnership is vital to ensuring the general welfare and well-being of our citizens and our country. As a new administration begins, it is important to recognize that the foundation of this partnership must be developed early and continuously nurtured and strengthened. To promote this relationship, the leaders of state and local government ask the next president to follow two main guiding principles.

"The first is to consult and cooperate with state and local leaders. We are on the frontlines everyday and know the effect of national policies and programs on the delivery of services to our citizens. We ask the next administration to adopt a policy of constructive engagement with state and local government to gather relevant information about existing issues, build on innovative programs already in place at the state and local level and ensure national policies are implemented in the most effective and efficient manner possible.

"Second, we encourage the next Administration to promote innovation at the state and local level. State and local leaders can respond more quickly and experiment more widely than our federal partners. We urge the new president to strive for federal policy that encourages this innovation by maximizing state and local flexibility as we implement national policies and programs.

"To ensure a productive relationship among federal, state and local levels of government, we are calling on the next Administration to demonstrate its commitment to strengthening the partnership by taking the following actions within 60 days of taking office:

o    Reaffirm an Executive Order on Federalism;

o    Establish an Office of Intergovernmental Affairs within the White House to serve as a conduit between the President and state and local leaders immediately after taking office; and

o    Meet with members of the Big 7 state and local organizations to discuss how best to develop a strong partnership to address national policy.

"We are committed to maintaining a strong federal-state-local partnership and look forward to working with next administration to solve the challenges facing our country and better serve Americans."

###

Contacts:

Jodi Omear (NGA), 202-624-5346; 703-474-2668

Michelle Blackston (NCSL), 202-624-8667, 202-413-0534

Jack Penchoff (CSG), 859-244-8000

Jim Philipps (NACo), 202- 942-4220

Elena Temple (USCM), 202-861-6719

Amanda Straub (NLC), 202-626-3015

Michele Frisby (ICMA), 202-962-3658

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