December 17, 2002

Conference of Mayors Vice President James Garner Calls on Senator Lott to Step Down as Incoming Majority Leader

Hempstead, NY -- Hempstead Mayor James Garner, who also serves as Vice President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, today called upon Mississippi Senator Trent Lott to step down as the incoming Senate Majority Leader. Garner said that Lott's highly publicized comments, made at Senator Strom Thurmond's recent 100th birthday party, have permanently and inexorably damaged his ability to provide constructive leadership in the Senate and to the nation.

"As a black Republican Mayor, I have constantly advocated that our party is capable of providing compassionate leadership to all citizens from all ethnic backgrounds," Mayor Garner said. "I fear that Senator Lott's offensive and divisive remarks, and the public attention which they have appropriately raised, will prevent the Senate from focusing on the other major issues facing this country. His remarks reflect neither the spirit of our party nor the goals of our country. Ironically, his credibility as Senate Majority Leader has been undermined by his very own repugnant words. For the sake of our party and our country, it is time for the Senate to move on to new leadership."

Garner made his comments after a whirlwind series of meetings earlier this week in Washington. He said be found that public and political support for the Mississippi Senator was rapidly eroding, and that any further debate on whether he should remain as leader would only waste valuable time and precious resources.

"While this is not an official statement of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, as a long-time member and Officer, Vice President and President-elect of the organization, I feel that I must speak now. I will be bringing this matter to the nation's mayors when we meet in an official capacity for our 71st Winter Meeting in January in Washington, DC."

Mayor Garner, the first black Mayor to serve a Long Island community, has served as Mayor of Hempstead since 1989.

City of Hempstead: Dave Vieser. W: (516) 293-5700, C: (516) 641-4881
USCM: Andy Solomon, (202) 861-6766


©2004 U.S. Conference of Mayors