Kansas City Mayor Sly James, was among 14 Mayors from around the country that were called to the White House this week to meet with President Obama, Vice President Biden, Chief of Staff Daley and Special Assistant Valerie Jarrett.
The President listened to the economic challenges the Mayors were seeing in their communities and heard about Kansas City's successful efforts to spur economic growth, promote job creation and accelerate hiring.
"It was an honor to be invited to the White House to meet with the President and Vice President. The experience was humbling, and the interest the leaders of our nation have in Kansas City was extraordinary. I can say, they are focused on getting America back to work, and are committed to the success of Kansas City. It was proud to tell both of them in person about the hard-working people who call our City home," said Mayor James.
"At the end of the meeting, the President said, 'Sly, you have the last word,' and I said that everyone had spoken eloquently about the need for investments in jobs, but I wanted to urge us to let no crisis go unused. In the cities we know we have to collaborate to succeed, and I know Congress could be helped if they adopted that same spirit. Mayor Joe Reardon of Kansas City, Kansas and I are working together on a project to bring ultra-high speed internet to our cities. While we are often competitors we recognized that we have to work together to capitalize on a once in a lifetime opportunity. Kansas City is a city of entrepreneurs like Hall and Kauffman and we are going to use this moment to increase the innovation in Kansas City in ways we have not even dreamed of yet. We are going to succeed no matter what, but some assistance on the federal level to help spur new ideas and investments in start up businesses would be appreciated," said Mayor James to conclude the meeting.
In addition, on June 17, 45th District State Represenative Jason Holsman (D-KC, Grandview) was among eight Missouri elected officials who traveled to Washington, D.C., for a policy briefing in the Eisenhower Building with top members of the Obama administration as part of the Young Elected Officials organization (YEO).
YEO is a program of the People for the American Way Foundation, a non partisan non-profit organization. YEO's mission is to unite and support young leaders who share a passion for building communities that reflect the values of freedom, fairness, and opportunity.
House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, State Rep. Jason Holsman, Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed and Kansas City School Board President Airick Leonard West made up the Kansas City delegation invited to the event.
Representative Holsman, age 35, serves on seven House Committees and chairs both the Joint Committee on Urban Agriculture and the Committee on Renewable Energy despite being a member of the minority party.
During the three and a half hour policy briefing the group of Young Elected Officials heard from speakers: David Agnew, Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs; Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors; Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Senior Advisor to the President; Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Office of Energy and Climate Change; Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development; and Aneesh Chopra, Chief Technology Officer.
Rep. Holsman was recognized for questions during the energy segment conducted by Heather Zichal.
"Considering the tragedy in Fukushima Daiichi and Germany's recent announcement to draw down nuclear power by 2020 what is the administration's view of nuclear resources in the future and are they considering alternative fuels and technology like thorium and modular generation?" Holsman said.
Zichal responded to Holsman by acknowledging the concern over Fukushima Daiichi and expressed the need for clean base load power with an interest in exploring modular technology.
Following the policy briefing, the group of elected officials were escorted to the White House for a reception attended by President Obama. At the reception the President gave remarks on the importance of young officials gaining valuable leadership experience that will carry on our unique American Democracy.