Exective Director's Column
January 10, 2013
Welcome Mayors to our 81st Winter Meeting. This meeting is special because it comes on the eve of the Inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.
No doubt, throughout the history of our nation, the Inauguration of our President is a most special event and ceremony in our nation. No matter how one votes or to which party one belongs, the picture of our elected President of the United States taking the oath is an image that reminds all just how special our American democracy is, as we uphold the decision of the people of our nation.
While it is a joyous time, a celebration, we do not dismiss the needs of our people and the need to do our best to meet the challenges we face.
Conference President Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter presides this week over our 81st Winter Meeting. We gather in the aftermath of 20 precious babies and six adults whose bodies were riddled with bullets in the Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, Connecticut.
We gather after a horrific storm, Sandy, which did tremendous damage to New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut citizens. At issue is the response from Congress to provide with some immediacy the resources to rebuild.
And there is general consensus that Congress will act on and finally provide some aspect of immigration reform legislation. For years, the Conference of Mayors has advocated to both Democratic and Republican members of Congress that there must be true immigration reform to address the needs of today.
The response to the murdering of the innocent children of Connecticut is being led by Conference President Mayor Michael Nutter, as he works with California Senator Dianne Feinstein toward common sense gun legislation and controlling assault weapons. Our policy is quite clear on common sense legislation. Our organization, since 1968, in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, has stood for decades, reminding our nation that we must all join to keep guns of any type out of the hands of children, the mentally ill, and criminals. Since the Sandy Hook massacre, mayors throughout the nation in all regions are standing up demanding a plan.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is here with us, and he has been most forceful, along with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, in leading Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), the advocacy group composed of hundreds of mayors who are standing with Mayor Bloomberg, demanding a plan from Washington to bring the full force of our national government to support our efforts to stop the violence and stop the massacre and killings of men, women and children here in America.
We welcome Vice President Biden as he opens our Winter Meeting at 1:30 pm Thursday, January 17. President Obama has asked him to come forth with a plan to help us all work toward stopping the gun violence in our country. He has also helped us with our issues as Congress reaches decisions on the fiscal cliff economic issues. These challenges continue and we will count on him as the budget negotiations continue in the months ahead.
As you can see from the photos on the front page of U.S. Mayor, we have a power meeting. And in addition to the leaders pictures, we are most aware that the people who make the Conference relevant are the mayors of this nation who join us this week at our Winter Meeting.
We welcome you. We appreciate you. Please, if I can be of any assistance to you during our Winter Meeting, let me know.
Meantime, engage in our meetings this week. And itís okay if you have fun too. We congratulate all of you for a job well done in governing our cities. YOU are The United States Conference of Mayors! Thanks to all of you.
I look forward to seeing many of you this week here in D.C.