Dayton Mayor Takes Helm At US Conference Of Mayors And Pushes For Infrastructure Bill

Jul 13, 2021

Hundreds of mayors from around the country from both parties have signed onto the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan being pushed by President Biden. The announcement was made in Columbus, as the new president of the group representing mayors of the country’s largest cities takes over.

A bipartisan group of 369 mayors signed a letter urging Congress to pass the plan for money for roads, bridges and other infrastructure as well as broadband, wastewater and passenger rail.

Dayton mayor Nan Whaley is the new president of the US Conference of Mayors - the announcement of the letter was made at a lunch meeting of the conference in Columbus.

Whaley said though passenger rail in Ohio was rejected more than a decade ago, it could happen now.

“We see this opportunity to really connect Ohio cities through the Amtrak plan, but also connect the entire country – because you have to get through Ohio to connect," Whaley said.

Whaley called the US Conference of Mayors  “the last bastion of bipartisanship”.  But she’s already running what will obviously be a very partisan campaign to unseat Republican Gov. Mike DeWine next year.

Whaley said her work heading the mayors’ group goes right along with her campaign for governor.

“Our communities need better partners. We need to make sure that we get what we deserve in our communities and the people in our communities get," Whaley said. "And that’s what I fight for every day, whether I’m president of the US Conference or I’m running for governor.”

The infrastructure plan has gotten support from bipartisan Congressional lawmakers in the Problem Solvers Caucus, but some Republicans and a few Democrats are questioning how to fund it and what should be in it.

Other Ohio mayors who've been president of the US Conference of Mayors include Cleveland Democratic Mayors Thomas Burke (1953) and Anthony Celebrezze (1962) and Democrat Don Plusquellic of Akron (2004-2005).