Press Release

October 29th, 1999

Tony Iallonardo


Mayors Pay Tribute to Senator Chafee at Cities 2000 Arts Forum in Florence

Past and Present Conference Leaders Express Sadness Over Loss of an "Extraordinary American"

Washington, D.C. -- Mayors from around the nation have expressed grief over the death of Rhode Island Senator John H. Chafee. Denver Mayor and Conference President Wellington Webb said, "Every American has benefited from the legacy Senator Chafee has left us. His commitment to families and children has brought better health services and cleaner air and water to our nation's cities. Senator Chafee will be impossible to replace in the U. S. Senate."

In Florence, Italy, as Mayors from the United States and Italy met to discuss common issues at the Cities 2000 Conference, Providence, Rhode Island Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr. called for the Conference of Mayors to adopt a resolution honoring the lifetime achievements of Senator Chafee.

Mayor Cianci, who is serving as co-chair of the Florence conference said, "In paying tribute to Senator Chafee, I asked all present at the session at Palazzo Vecchio, Florence's City Hall, to join in paying respect to Senator Chafee as an extraordinary American and public servant who, in his 23 years in the Senate, was an integral force in advancing the agenda of urban America. Senator Chafee, as a vital and vocal supporter of Brownfield's legislation, of the arts, historic preservation, the environment, health and child care reform, was admired and respected by all mayors, regardless of party affiliation. The Italian mayors present shared with us a reverence for a good, honorable and humble public servant who fought for freedom and devoted his life to promoting a better quality of life across our nation."

Fort Wayne Mayor and Past Conference President Paul Helmke said, "As a state legislator, governor and senator, John Chafee always rose above partisanship and set an example for all public officials. His thoughtful approach to governance and genuine love of his country made him a true statesman."

Past President and Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, who had the highest personal regard for Senator Chafee said, "With the passing of our friend John Chafee, I believe all public officials will have the burden of filling part of the void he leaves behind. Each of us will have to work harder to reach across partisan boundaries, to safeguard the public interest, and honor the principles that Senator Chafee upheld."

Mayors from cities across Italy and the United States are participating in a three-day symposium on the role of the arts in the international economy. The symposium takes place from October 28th through October 30th in Florence, Italy, and is being sponsored by The United States Conference of Mayors and the City of Florence.

The three-day symposium will focus primarily upon the role that the arts can play in promoting economic growth in cities. Italian and American Mayors will also exchange ideas and best practices on ways to manage city resources strained by increasing tourism activity, such as transportation, waste management, water services, and public safety. The symposium is one in a series of international exchanges taking places as part of The United States Conference of Mayors’ “Cities 2000” initiative.

The U. S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.