Ohio – During the election season, promises are often made to certain groups of people from different areas that might not come to fruition. Now that Election Day is done, a group of mayors from Middle America is making sure that pattern does not continue.
Mayors from Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Youngstown along with two from West Virginia and one each in Kentucky and Pennsylvania said they are dealing with major problems aside from the pandemic such as insecurity in the job market.
“It’s not that people aren’t working. It’s just that their wage isn’t very good,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.
Whaley and the other city leaders said every four years they are told how important they are to the American economy and how they will be taken care of but then nothing happens. Youngstown Mayor Jamael “Tito” Brown said the pattern has to stop.
“There’s a difference between the politicians and elected officials,” Brown said. “Politicians seem to want to parachute in every four years. Elected officials, they are on the ground. They are working with the people, and I want them to be accountable for places like Youngstown, Ohio.”
Last weekend, the mayors banded together to write an op-ed in the Washington Post titled, “We Need a Marshall Plan for Middle America.” The group feels the federal government should help the region recover in a similar way to how Europe was rebuilt after World War II.
“It was critically important that we put together a plan based on data, based on evidence that really revolves around infrastructure,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther.
Climate change is also top of mind. The article said, “Nonpartisan research led by the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Sustainable Business finds that ‘the Ohio River Valley stands to lose 100,000 jobs as the fossil-fuel economy continues to decline in the face of superior, cost-competitive renewable energy development.’”
“We need to become a priority of the Biden administration, and I think we will be to invest in renewable energy and subsidiary jobs that can benefit from all of that,” said Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
The coalition is calling upon the incoming Biden administration to invest $60 billion a year in federal green jobs in Appalachia, “the Ohio River Valley throughout the Rust Belt and up to the Great Lakes,” during the next 10 years.
“The future solely or overly reliant on fossil fuels is a bleak one for the people of this region if we don’t embrace the future and change the way we invest in infrastructure and innovation,” Ginther said.
Whaley said the Obama administration began the process back in 2008 before Washington became gridlocked in 2010. She said the group has already had meetings with the Biden Transition Team.
“I think what President-Elect Biden’s going do is there are things that were really good in the Obama administration that could’ve done better and I think this is an example of that,” Whaley said.