Struggling American cities can expect a helping hand and bold new initiatives from the incoming Obama administration, Newark Mayor Cory Booker says.
(AP Photo/Mel Evans, file)
Booker was an early supporter of Mr. Obama and has had ongoing communication with Mr. Obama's transition team. In Booker's view, Mr. Obama's urban roots and his time as a community organizer in Chicago make him especially receptive to the needs of urban America.
The new administration will have a White House Office of Urban Policy and that is all to the good, says Booker. But he tells CBS News Radio that local leaders and not the new young president will have ultimate responsibility -- with federal support -- for making changes that will make life better for city residents. Booker recently brought together a group of mayors in New Jersey to prepare a policy paper to assist the transition team in developing new policies to assist America's cities.
In an interview with CBS News' Nick Young, Mayor Booker identified some of the priorities the mayors brought to the attention of the incoming administration. These include federal support for "greening" the cities as a way to create jobs and a better quality of life. They want federal investment in -- but not handouts for -- their cities. And they are especially concerned that the incoming president's economic stimulus program balances the needs of urban and suburban areas in allocating federal money for infrastructure improvements.
Click here to listen to the Cory Booker interview.