The July 18-19, 2013 Building One America Summit on inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions highlighted the common challenges facing our country’s diverse middle-class communities.
Twelve states were represented at the summit, which brought 200 local elected and civic leaders from towns, schools, business, labor and faith communities together with experts and federal policymakers from the White House and Congress to seek bipartisan solutions to the unique but common challenges around housing, schools, and infrastructure facing America’s metropolitan regions and its diverse middle-class suburbs.
A congressional reception was attended by 14 members of Congress, including Richard Hanna (R-NY), Transportation and infrastructure; Dave Joyce (R-Ohio), Appropriations; Peter King (R-NY), Financial Services; and Jim Renacci (R-OH), Ways and Means; Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Transportation and Infrastructure; Charlie Rangel (D-NY), Ways and Means.
Former Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette, who now heads the Republican Main Street Partnerships, served as a keynote speaker in the summit, affirming that the challenges facing local government are bi-partisan issues, and pledged to work with BOA to build support for investment in infrastructure.
Practitioners and policy-experts attended breakout sessions on schools, housing, sewer, water infrastructure, and transportation. There, efforts to lift-up and highlight opportunities for better federal and state policies and funding approaches were reinforced by powerful examples of best practices and policy victories secured at the state and regional level.
Key members of the Obama administration – including Gred Nadeu, deputy administrator of Federal Highway Administration; Salin Geevarghese, Acting Director of the Sustainable Communities Initiative; John Frece, EPA Office of Sustainable Communities; and Paulette Aniskoff, White House Director of Public Engagement – were engaged around how the federal government can better support inclusive suburbs and sustainable regions.
David Rusk, a Building One America board member and national expert on regionalism, proposed a unified and unifying policy agenda. The summit ended with commitments to build and train strong networks of local leaders within metropolitan regions and states and leaders set goals of convening regional summits in the spring of 2014 to present issues for action.