Washington, DC – Yesterday the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) took part in a virtual event on the opening day of the Republican National Convention. The gathering of mayors was focused on bipartisan solutions found in the newly released The Mayors’ 2020 Vision: An American Breakthrough, and it follows a parallel event that took place last week at the Democratic National Convention. As part of the conversation, Republican mayors stressed the importance of direct federal assistance to cities still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Cities of all sizes, in red states and blue states alike, are facing painful budget shortfalls as a direct result of the crisis. Thus far only 38 cities have received direct assistance, and the USCM is urging Congress to come together on another response package that provides significant resources for cities of all sizes.
The two convention events demonstrate this issue is just as important to Republican mayors as it is Democratic ones. Here are just some of the comments from Republican mayors about the urgent need for direct, flexible assistance to American cities.
“Cities of all sizes across the country are experiencing significant revenue shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and are in dire need of immediate and near-term infusions of direct and flexible funding. This aid is crucial to prevent furloughs and layoffs of the very front-line workers most needed to respond to the public health crisis and bring the country out of the economic crisis it now faces,” said Fontana (CA) Mayor Aquanetta Warren. “Our requests for direct federal assistance to cities, regardless the population, is to avoid the elimination of essential services in our communities. The elimination of services will include public safety, community services, and capital improvement projects that have been planned to restore aging infrastructure throughout our nation.”
“We urge Congress to do its job and provide direct aid to American cities most affected by the virus,” said Miami (FL) Mayor Francis Suarez, USCM Second Vice President.
“[I will] echo my support and call for direct fiscal assistance to cities,” said Rochester Hills (MI) Mayor Bryan Barnett, immediate past president of the USCM. “As I believe everyone on this call is a city under 500,000, and are still certainly looking for that federal support in that federally-supported, locally-executed plan to defeat Covid. And we’ll continue our work with our colleagues in Congress and the Administration on that as we move forward.”
“While  cities receive direct federal assistance,” said Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz, a USCM past president, “the rest of us are waiting for meaningful federal assistance and wanting us to ensure that our cities and businesses can stay open and to move towards thriving again.”
“Mesa, Arizona is a great place, but it is one of the larger cities in the United States, and so we were privileged to receive direct funding from the federal government,” said Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles, “and I’m here to tell you that that was a tremendous blessing and that that assistance has been utilized in a very responsible and very effective way in our community… I can tell you from firsthand experience, ladies and gentlemen, the national assistance that’s been going to  cities has been critical, it’s been effective, and we need more.”