Black Mayors Talk Federal Support For Local Issues At White House Gathering

A group of newly elected mayors recently gathered at the White House to talk with administration officials about the concerns and challenges facing small to mid-size cities in several critical areas of the country. The Biden Administration welcomed the group of newly elected mayors to speak with administration officials about the pressing needs facing their respective communities. 

Newport News Mayor-elect Phillip Jones rounded out the conversation with NewsOne, noting that his role as mayor was being a “bridge builder.” 

“You should be able to link up your news to state and federal-level resources. This is, I believe, the first time that Newport News has been represented at the White House.” 

A proponent of economic justice, Jones said his top priority conversation was to talk with Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about infrastructure. He said the administration’s reconnecting communities grant could provide needed resources to disenfranchised communities harmed by highway construction, such as the southeast community in Newport News.

“In my mind, infrastructure through that grant to include rapid bus transit is going to be the way that you can have individuals have economic justice, and have more flexibility and connected to high paying jobs,” Jones said. He also touted Newport News’ prowess and military might. “The White House takes notice of Newport News because we build aircraft carriers, and we build about 30% of all submarines in the Navy. We build the world’s greatest ships.”

Jones stressed that even at the local level, it’s a team effort, with the mayor and city council working together to get things done for the communities they serve.

 The trio was among 13 newly elected mayors invited to the convening hosted by the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, led by Julie Chavez Rodriguez. Other administration attendees included Secretary of HUD Marcia Fudge, Mayors in attendance received a surprise visit from President Biden himself.  

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