Today, I am honored to take the reins as President of the United States Conference of Mayors. Founded in 1932 during the darkest days of the Great Depression, the US Conference of Mayors has long carried the banner for issues that matter most to Americans across the country: strong and vibrant local economies, safe streets, dependable services including mass transit, and great public schools.
As Mayors, we represent -- and reside in -- communities that are far removed from the partisan paralysis of Washington, DC. We know how hard it is for families struggling while living paycheck to paycheck. We've seen cities swamped by the mortgage crisis and entire neighborhoods left to rot. We've dealt first-hand with the aftermath of a huge employer leaving town for $2-a-day labor abroad, or the devastation of a tornado sweeping through town.
Legislators are hired to talk, but mayors are hired to act. And the American people desperately need us to act.
Throughout this conference, we've discussed how mayors across the country can come together in support of what America needs most. We've talked about bold plans to help create jobs, jump-start our struggling local economies, and build out a 21st century transportation network. We've discussed doing away with the absurd and archaic policies that have strangled our public schools with red tape, stifling learning and creativity. And we've asked Congress to responsibly bring our troops home and dedicate the billions currently being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan to creating jobs, developing sustainable energy, and repairing our crumbling infrastructure.
I'm proud to take the helm of this storied organization that has long stood with hardworking Americans from coast to coast. I look forward to working with my fellow mayors on these issues and many more. Mayors, it's our time to take the lead.