ICYMI: Michigan Mayors Highlight the "Non-Partisan" and "Universal" Benefits of the American Rescue Plan in Joint Op-Ed
Yesterday, in an op-ed published by the Lansing State Journal, a group of 13 bipartisan mayors from across the state of Michigan argued that the American Rescue Plan is the catalyst to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 13 mayors highlight the tragic impact of the pandemic on their communities – the struggle to keep essential services running, small business closures, food insecurity, students learning via Zoom, and loved ones dying alone – but believe that the American Rescue Plan is a source of optimism and a bridge to normalcy.
The pandemic is not yet in the rearview mirror, the mayors acknowledge, but vaccination rates are on the rise, and federal funding from the Rescue Plan to state and local governments will help foment a bottom-up recovery. The op-ed states unequivocally that the decision to invest "in a more equitable and inclusive future" for the American people is "not a partisan goal," but rather a "human" goal.
Read the full op-ed below:
Lansing State Journal: American Rescue Plan gives our communities the opportunity for local first pandemic recovery
As a group of bipartisan mayors representing Michigan's core urban cities, we're hopeful about our communities' ability to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic with a strong recovery. The recently approved American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is fuel for our optimism.
The past year has been tremendously difficult for everyone, and Michigan communities were no exception.
Our cities struggled to keep essential services running. However, the grit and determination of our emergency personnel, public works employees, and city hall staff enabled us to persevere for our residents.
Many of our businesses closed. Some have reopened while others have not. Our residents suffered food and financial insecurity. Our youth did their best to use technology and remote learning for their education without direct in-person contact with their teachers or peers. Most tragically, many of us had loved ones who died alone without family or friends at their bedside.
These stories are not abstract. They are from people we know, our neighbors, our friends, our family — our community. We are duty-bound to serve them in tragedy and triumph.
While the number of positive cases and hospitalizations have surged in recent weeks, we remain committed to safe practices and optimistic about the road ahead. The number of individuals vaccinated in our state is growing at a rapid pace. This is welcome news as it will help curb the transmission of this virus. The federal aid coming to state and local governments also is a blessing — and an incredible opportunity — that will help expedite our recovery.
About $4.4 billion from the $1.9 trillion ARPA is going to every city, village, township and county in Michigan. While the recovery plan caused sharp divisions in Congress, the help it provides our communities is non-partisan and universal. This funding is a much-needed boost and investment in our communities and the residents and businesses we host.
This assistance is a historic moment that recognizes community as the catalyst of our economic recovery.
These funds are a long-overdue acknowledgement of local government's outsized role in the day-to-day services that support a high quality of life. This pandemic has been extremely difficult for our communities, on top of the lingering effects of the Great Recession and already constrained local budgets.
Local government belongs to its residents, and we will work with them and our businesses to ensure these funds are invested strategically, ensuring everyone — no exceptions — benefits long into the future.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently released official guidance on our specific allocation and parameters around spending. Fortunately, we have through 2024 to do what local government does best — serve its people by investing in their individual and shared prosperity.
We encourage our fellow community leaders to be deliberate and collaborative in deciding how best to utilize this one-time assistance in ways that enhance the human experience and fosters the building of community wealth. We encourage our fellow leaders to engage their residents, and partner with supporters who will help public servants shape and implement a bold, equitable and inclusive vision for the future.
Our residents deserve nothing less.
The chance for a bottom-up recovery is here — and it's called the American Rescue Plan. We sincerely thank our Michigan members of Congress who fought to make this a reality. They put their trust in people who get their hands dirty. They bet on the frontlines to reach a new frontier.
Investing in a more equitable and inclusive future is not a partisan goal; it's a human one.
This viewpoint was submitted by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and written in cooperation with the Urban Core Mayors, a bipartisan, multi-regional coalition of Michigan's 13 central city mayors.
Co-authors: Christopher Taylor, Mayor of Ann Arbor, Mark Behnke, Mayor of Battle Creek, Kathleen Newsham, Mayor of Bay City, John B. "Jack" O'Reilly, Jr., Mayor of Dearborn, Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, Sheldon Neeley, Mayor of Flint, Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids, Derek Dobies, Mayor of Jackson, David Anderson, Mayor of Kalamazoo, Stephen Gawron, Mayor of Muskegon, Dr. Deirdre Waterman, Mayor of Pontiac and Brenda F. Moore, Mayor of Saginaw.
Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Michigan Mayors Highlight the "Non-Partisan" and "Universal" Benefits of the American Rescue Plan in Joint Op-Ed Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/350026