Barack Obama’s Urban Agenda

Barack ObamaNewark’s story just got bigger. With the inauguration of President Obama into the White House, America has a renewed focus on domestic policy in general and cities in particular. We’ll be watchful of how the Obama administration develops its urban agenda, and what impact those policies wil have on the city of Newark in the months to come.
President Obama gave this speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s convention in Miami on Jun 21st, 2008 while running in the general election against Senator John McCain. Below are some notable excerpts on just how the new administration is thinking of cities as hotbeds of innovation and opportunity rather than problems that need to be dealt with.

Barack Obama is arguably the first urban president since Teddy Roosevelt, a New Yorker.  With this level of intentionality toward urban policy, it’s an exciting time to live in one of America’s cities.

But you shouldn’t be succeeding despite Washington – you should be succeeding with a hand from Washington. Neglect is not a policy for America’s metropolitan areas. It’s time City Hall had someone in the White House you could count on the way so many Americans count on you.

…So, yes we need to fight poverty. Yes, we need to fight crime. Yes, we need to strengthen our cities. But we also need to stop seeing our cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution. Because strong cities are the building blocks of strong regions, and strong regions are essential for a strong America. That is the new metropolitan reality and we need a new strategy that reflects it – a strategy that’s about South Florida as much as Miami; that’s about Mesa and Scottsdale as much as Phoenix; that’s about Stamford and Northern New Jersey as much as New York City. As President, I’ll work with you to develop this kind of strategy and I’ll appoint the first White House Director of Urban Policy to help make it a reality.

Author: Ken Walker

Husband, Father, Newarker, PCA Elder, Business Analyst. In a glass case of emotion since 1978.

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