The First & Main coalition of local elected leaders sent a letter this week to Congress and the Trump administration urging them not to cut or eliminate programs upon which these local communities rely.
This administration campaigned on promises of small-town prosperity. But do they understand what actual small town leaders need from them? For the last few months, this fast-growing group of local leaders—under the banner of First & Main—have been developing and rallying around a Blueprint for Prosperity to let both Congress and the White House know how to best help communities like theirs succeed.
Whether in a rural area, a tribal community, or a smaller city, the corner of First & Main represents the anchor of it all. Promoting the vitality of these places is key to America’s prosperity, and more than 100 local elected leaders who represent small towns, cities or counties across 33 states have now joined the First & Main coalition.
This week these 107 leaders signed a letter to leadership in Congress and the White House calling on them to be “reliable federal partners to support our homegrown efforts to rebuild our downtowns, restore our economies, and improve opportunity for everyone.”
Scores of these smaller communities have renewed their prosperity by focusing on downtown development and a powerful alchemy of their own dollars, grit, and perseverance—paired with resources from a range of vital federal programs. But what if these federal resources were gutted or drastically reduced?
Many federal programs contained in the First & Main Blueprint were slated for elimination or cuts by President Trump’s first two budget requests, like TIGER (recently rebranded as BUILD), Economic Development Agency grants, historic preservation tax credits, or Community Development Block Grants, to name just a few of the 30+ programs in the Blueprint. Fortunately, Congress’ two-year budget deal and subsequent appropriations bills spared most from cuts, but that action is only a temporary reprieve.
As the letter states, “the undersigned mayors, city councilors, town leaders, county executives and commissioners, tribal leaders, and other local elected officials from across America are calling on the federal government to support and partner with their local communities by enacting this Blueprint. We urge you to focus on proven solutions that will stimulate the kind of economic growth that will create vibrant, healthy communities; bring prosperity to all of our residents, families, and workers; and produce the rising tide that lifts all boats in our communities.”
Read (or download here) the full letter and list of signatories below:
President Trump and Members of Congress,
We, the undersigned local elected leaders of the First & Main coalition, represent rural communities, counties, tribal areas, small towns and mid-sized cities across the United States. We present this blueprint to cross party lines and restore the prosperity of America’s local communities—and the people within them—that have been missing out or left behind.
The First & Main Blueprint can provide our communities with the resources we need to prosper by doing three basic things:
- Protecting the federal programs that are proven to work for our local communities,
- Improving the programs that we believe can be effective, and,
- Creating new programs to provide local communities with additional resources.
What’s First & Main? The corner of First & Main is where everything happens. Whether in a rural area or a smaller city, First & Main is the anchor of it all. It’s where east and west meet north and south. It’s the county seat. It’s where you can find the old train depot that built the town, City Hall, the family restaurant everyone knows, the businesses that continue to drive our local economy, or the corner from which to spot the most beautiful historic buildings in town. These communities form the basic building block of our nation’s prosperity.
The potential of our communities is abundant, yet decades of disinvestment have undermined their economic potential. We have seen factories shuttered, local roads and bridges deteriorate, quality of life compromised, and jobs lost. To send prosperity rippling outward to everyone in our communities and then throughout the country, we need a reliable federal partner to support our homegrown, local efforts. We’re calling on you to help us turn these cities and towns into beacons of opportunity for everyone, including those who are struggling and have been left behind within them.
We see deep inequities in the health, transportation, housing, and economic development outcomes that result from federal investments. Many of our communities are too often left out, and even when investments do reach us, the benefits often fail to extend to everyone.
We all share four key principles that guide what we’re asking of you:
Support locally-driven community revitalization, which is essential to the vitality of these communities and attracting additional investment to our regions.
Build vibrant, healthy, walkable towns and cities to help address health disparities and connect everyone in the community to greater opportunities, strengthen entire regions, enhance quality of life, and attract additional and sustained economic investment.
Create opportunities for everyone in America’s small and mid-sized communities by providing equal access and distribution to small and mid-size communities within federal programs.
Invest in infrastructure that creates lasting value, not expensive liabilities for which our communities lack the money to maintain. Connecting more places and people is critical for success, and rebuilding and fixing existing infrastructure upon which we have relied for decades should be our first priority.
Derived from these overarching principles, our full Blueprint is composed of 30-plus detailed strategies arrayed through these five areas that are under your budgetary or policy control:
Redevelopment and Revitalization includes strategies like redeveloping brownfields, and preserving vital Tax-Exempt Municipal Bonds, New Market Tax Credits, and Historic Preservation Tax Credits, among others.
Local Economic Development includes strategies like boosting the Economic Development Administration and the Rural Development program within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and expanding the Appalachian Community Renewal program, among others.
Rebuilding Downtown & Core Areas includes strategies like creating a Public Square Initiative within the National Park Service and an Anchor Institution Initiative within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funding HUD’s Neighborhood Renewal program, among others.
Create Housing & Neighborhoods includes strategies like making improvements to Affordable Housing Tax Credits, preserving the National Housing Trust Fund, and providing $3 billion each year for Community Development Block Grants.
Infrastructure Investment includes strategies like continuing to fund TIGER grants, the Transportation Alternatives Program, and all Federal Transit Administration programs to help communities invest in community-scale and priority transportation projects; providing grants to expand broadband internet access through gigabit zones; and providing more funding for the State Clean Water & Drinking Water Revolving Funds and the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to improve water infrastructure funding and integrated water infrastructure approaches.
The undersigned mayors, city councilors, town leaders, county executives and commissioners, tribal leaders, and other local elected officials from across America are calling on the federal government to support and partner with their local communities by enacting this Blueprint. We urge you to focus on proven solutions that will stimulate the kind of economic growth that will create vibrant, healthy communities; bring prosperity to all of our residents, families, and workers; and produce the rising tide that lifts all boats in our communities.
First & Main members
107 members on June 21, 2018. View the most current list of signers here.
|Mayor||Ken||Sunseri||City of Haleyville||AL|
|Mayor||Hollie||Cost||City of Montevallo||AL|
|Mayor||William “Ronnie”||Marks||City of Athens||AL|
|Mayor||Jeff||Collier||Town of Dauphin Island||AL|
|Mayor||Mark||Stodola||City of Little Rock||AR|
|Mayor||Pat||McCabe||City of Hot Springs||AR|
|Councilmember||Jeanine||Guy||City of Buckeye||AZ|
|Mayor||Rey||Leon||City of Huron||CA|
|Mayor||Sofia||Pereira||City of Arcata||CA|
|Councilmember||Miguel||Canales||City of Artesia||CA|
|Vice Mayor||Brett||Watson||City of Arcata||CA|
|Mayor||Michael||Gamba||City of Glenwood Springs||CO|
|Mayor||Sean||Murphy||Town of Telluride||CO|
|Councilmember||Jonathan||Godes||City of Glenwood Springs||CO|
|Mayor||David||Martin||City of Stamford||CT|
|Mayor||Nathan||Blackwell||City of St. Cloud||FL|
|Mayor||Gregory||Oravec||City of Port St. Lucie||FL|
|Mayor||Wayne||Messam||City of Miramar||FL|
|Mayor||Bob||Campbell||City of DeFuniak Springs||FL|
|Mayor||Joseph||Corradino||Village of Pinecrest||FL|
|Deputy Mayor||Dave||Askew||City of St. Cloud||FL|
|Mayor||Lauren||Poe||City of Gainesville||FL|
|Mayor||Kay||Pippin||City of Jackson||GA|
|Vice Chairman||Bruce||Holmes||Henry County||GA|
|Mayor||Bill||Copeland||City of McDonough||GA|
|Councilmember||Ann||Tarpley||City of Hampton||GA|
|Mayor||Roy||Buol||City of Dubuque||IA|
|Councilmember||Patrick||Morrissey||City of Waterloo||IA|
|Councilmember||Greg||Piklapp||City of Boone||IA|
|Mayor||Matt||Bemrich||City of Fort Dodge||IA|
|Councilmember||Dylan||Parker||City of Rock Island||IL|
|Councilmember||Bryan||Tanner||City of Mishawaka||IN|
|Councilmember||Duane||Chattin||City of Vincennes||IN|
|Commissioner||Myron||Griswold||City of Leavenworth||KS|
|Mayor||William||May||City of Frankfort||KY|
|Mayor||Carter||Hendricks||City of Hopkinsville||KY|
|Mayor||Ronny||Walker||City of Ruston||LA|
|Mayor||Belinda||Constant||City Of Gretna||LA|
|Councilmember||Howard||Luna||St. Bernard Parish||LA|
|Mayor||Daniel||Rivera||City of Lawrence||MA|
|Mayor||Gee||Williams||Town of Berlin||MD|
|Mayor||Patrick||Wojahn||City of College Park||MD|
|Councilmember||Dannielle||Glaros||Prince George’s County||MD|
|Mayor||Candace||Hollingsworth||City of Hyattsville||MD|
|Mayor||Edward||Estes||City of Glenarden||MD|
|Mayor||Mark||Walker||City of Hallowell||ME|
|Mayor||Samantha||Paradis||City of Belfast||ME|
|Councilmember||Michael||Madore||Town of Millinocket||ME|
|Mayor||Andy||Schor||City of Lansing||MI|
|Councilmember||Maria||Taylor||City of Farmington||MI|
|Mayor||Rosalynn||Bliss||City of Grand Rapids||MI|
|Mayor||Bobby||Hopewell||City of Kalamazoo||MI|
|Mayor||Mark||Meadows||City of East Lansing||MI|
|Councilmember||Ian||Thomas||City of Columbia||MO|
|Mayor||Robert W||Lourwood||City of Ironton||MO|
|Mayor||Eileen||Weir||City of Independence||MO|
|Mayor||Robyn||Tannehill||City of Oxford||MS|
|Alderwoman||Daphne||Sims||City of Canton||MS|
|Mayor||William||Truly||City of Canton||MS|
|Mayor||John||Engen||City of Missoula||MT|
|Councilmember||David||White||City of Shelby||NC|
|Mayor||Ben||Aufforth||City of Bottineau||ND|
|Mayor||Svante||Myrick||City of Ithaca||NY|
|Mayor||Randy||Casale||City of Beacon||NY|
|Mayor||Lovely||Warren||City of Rochester||NY|
|Mayor||Noah||Bramson||City of New Rochelle||NY|
|Supervisor||Judi||Bosworth||Town of North Hempstead||NY|
|Councilmember||Emily||Svenson||Town of Hyde Park||NY|
|Councilmember||Sean||Dunne||City of Portsmouth||OH|
|Councilmember||Kelda||Lorax||Town of Fairland||OK|
|Mayor||Denny||Doyle||City of Beaverton||OR|
|Mayor||John||Cook||City of Tigard||OR|
|Mayor||Maria||Marcinko||Borough of Steelton||PA|
|Mayor||Simon||Short||Borough of Monaca||PA|
|Mayor||Bill||Peduto||City of Pittsburgh||PA|
|Mayor||Bill||Janakovic||City of Johnstown||PA|
|Mayor||Tim||Scott||Borough of Carlisle||PA|
|Councilmember||Michael||Derman||Borough of Lewisburg||PA|
|Mayor||Eric||Papenfuse||City of Harrisburg||PA|
|Mayor||Knox||White||City of Greenville||SC|
|Mayor||Madeline||Rogero||City of Knoxville||TN|
|Mayor||Jackie||Shornak||City of Hopewell||VA|
|Mayor||Frank||Kuntz||City of Wenatchee||WA|
|Mayor||Roger||Wentz||City of Union Gap||WA|
|Deputy Mayor||Dave||Matson||City of Union Gap||WA|
|Councilmember||Dave||Butler||City of Union Gap||WA|
|Councilmember||Kate||Burke||City of Spokane||WA|
|Mayor||Zachary||Vruwink||City of Wisconsin Rapids||WI|
|Mayor||Scott||Rogers||City of Charles Town||WV|
|Mayor||Steve||Williams||City of Huntington||WV|
|Mayor||Duke||Pierson||City of Ranson||WV|
|Mayor||Harold||Miller||City of Weirton||WV|
|Mayor||George||Karos||City of Martinsburg||WV|
|Mayor||Glenn||Elliott||City of Wheeling||