Press Release

Morial Meets with HUD Secretary Martinez on "Priorities for the New American City"

February 5, 2001

Washington, DC -- Conference of Mayors Vice President and New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial was in the nation's capital Thursday (02/01/01) to meet with Mel Martinez, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the meeting Mayor Morial shared with Secretary Martinez the top housing and development priorities of America's cities.

"I was pretty impressed," Morial said in an interview with the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Mr. Martinez was friendly and open to a dialogue with Mayors. And he displayed considerable knowledge and sensitivity to local government issues." After a 40-minute session, Mayor Morial said he came away with a sense that the administration plans to give The Conference a voice in HUD operations.

"He asked that [The Conference of Mayors] give him input on developing new initiatives, as well as which HUD programs don't work, which do and how they might work better," Morial said.


At the recent Winter Meeting of the Conference of Mayors in Washington, Mayor Coles unveiled "Priorities for the New American City," the Mayors' action plan outlining key policy priorities for America's cities. The plan calls on President George W. Bush and the new Congress to work with Mayors on shared priorities such as smart growth, affordable housing and brownfields development.

When President Bush spoke at the Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting last June in Seattle (during his campaign for the Presidency), he unveiled his "Urban Agenda for the 21st Century." Both the agenda and his comments reflected many of the Mayors' priorities. Still, "Priorities for the New American City" reflects a broad range of specific recommendations, and the Mayors believe much more needs to be done to continue to encourage growth and development in cities, the economic engines of the nation.

"Despite our successes, we cannot afford to be complacent," Mayor Coles said in a statement announcing the release. "The social and economic prosperity of the nation depends, in large part, on our continued willingness to cooperate and strengthen cities. Mayors recognize the value of the federal government as a partner in this effort and will continue to seek new ways to assure that federal programs offer the flexibility to meet the needs of individual cities, without cumbersome restrictions and expensive regulatory requirements." The entire document, "Priorities for the New American City," is available for download on the Conference of Mayors website,

In the coming months, The Conference plans to meet with Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, Education Secretary Roderick Paige, Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, and other key Cabinet officials. The Conference is also working on a Mayors' meeting in the spring with President Bush.

The United States 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.

Jubi Headley
(202) 861-6766 office
(202) 744-9337 cell