WASHINGTON - Mayor Charmaine Tavares was among a group of mayors who on Thursday pressed President Barack Obama on the need for federal support during tough economic times.
Tavares is in Washington, D.C., taking part in the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The meeting with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was part of the conference activities.
It was an "amazing opportunity to meet with President Obama," Tavares said in a news release from the Office of the Mayor. "His comments really hit home for us as mayors. The president listened to our concerns about the importance of having federal support make its way through to the county level, and I feel that he will do his best to make funding available to us without so much of it first going directly to state agencies before trickling to the counties."
Mayor Charmaine Tavares (second from left) is among a group of mayors greeted by President Barack Obama on Thursday in the East Room of the White House during the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
County officials have expressed frustration with the slow and byzantine process of receiving federal stimulus money approved to revitalize local economies nearly a year ago.
The Mayor's Office news release said Obama expressed empathy with mayors struggling in the nation's poor economy.
"It's just not easy being a mayor," Obama said. "But rarely, if ever, has it been more difficult than it is today. Your constituents are feeling the pain of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression - not to mention an economy that wasn't working for a lot of them long before this particular crisis hit.
"Many have lost jobs; many have lost their health care; some maybe even have lost their homes. And they're looking to you and all of us to regain some sense of economic security. And just when they need more from you, you're stuck with falling revenues, leaving you with impossible choices that keep mounting up - putting projects on hold."