Press Release
City of Gary, Washington Office
Stacy Palmer-Barton
(202) 861-6778


Mayors, Business, Community Leaders Will Convene on House Side of Capitol at 8:30 AM, on Senate Side at 1:30 PM

A bipartisan group of more than 130 mayors, business and community leaders from cities across the nation will convene on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, September 14 to urge Congress and the Administration to support full funding for the second round of the HUD- and USDA-funded Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities.

Twenty Empowerment Zones (15 urban, five rural) were announced by Vice President Al Gore in January. Authorized under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, each of the EZ designees receive a host of tax incentives designed to generate private sector investment and spur economic growth in the nation's most distressed communities.

The 1997 tax bill, however, fell short of providing the flexible grant funds awarded to the recipients of the first round of Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities in 1994 when each EZ city received $100 million and each EC received $3 million.

Mayors traveling to Washington for the rallies include Scott King of Gary, IN; Robert Pastrick of East Chicago, IN; Victor Ashe of Knoxville, TN; Joe Carollo of Miami, FL; Robert Coble of Columbia, SC; Stephen Creech of Sumter, SC; Michael Piroli of Bridgeton, NJ; and Victor Lopez of Orange Cove, CA.

Other elected officials participating include Cincinnati, OH City Manager John Shiray, Vice Mayor Minette Cooper, and City Council Member Paul Booth; Columbus, OH City Council Member Charleta Tavares; and Cumberland County, NJ Freeholder Bruce Peterson.

Business and community leaders from most of these locales will be accompanying the mayors and other officials; others will be traveling from Boston, MA; St. Louis, MO; Minneapolis, MN; Miami-Dade County, FL; New Haven, CT; El Paso, TX; Riverside County, CA; Ironton, WV; and Griggs-Steele, ND.

A breakfast and rally targeting House members ­ 8:30-10:00 AM in Room B369 of the Rayburn HOB ­ will be addressed by Representatives Mark Foley (R-FL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Frank Lobiondo (R-NJ) and others. Following this session, individual group members will meet with their House delegations.

The afternoon rally ­ 1:30-3:00 PM in Room 708 of the Hart SOB ­ will be addressed by Senators Charles Robb (D-VA), Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and others. Following this session, individual group members will meet with their Senators.

Additional meetings will be held with Administration officials.