AZ Mayor Meets with City Leaders in DC to Discuss Local Challenges, Solutions
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Mesa Mayor John Giles has plenty of takeaways after attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the nation's capital. The event lets bipartisan local leaders discuss best practices and trade ideas on how municipalities are dealing with various challenges.
Giles said that although this is not his first conference of mayors, it is important to highlight that this year the event took place in Washington D.C. He said it gave participating mayors access to speak with various Cabinet members and President Joe Biden.
Giles added he was impressed by the fact that many of the challenges facing his Arizona community are the same if not similar to other issues plaguing other cities.
"Some of them are a little further ahead in the process of figuring things out and there are things we can learn from them," he said. "Quite often I am happy to be able to share some of the things we are doing in Mesa that I think have application and are beneficial for other cities to hear."
Giles said some of the biggest challenges Mesa and other cities are facing surround food insecurity and homelessness, two issues Giles said have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of housing.
Giles is also chairman of the conference's immigration-reform task force, which he said had an opportunity to meet with White House representatives as well as personnel from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to discuss the surge in migrant activity at the border.
Giles added immigration is an issue he and others feel needs more attention. He said if Title 42 goes away, it will lead to a significant influx in refugees and asylum seekers.
"The mayor of New York City was extremely outspoken about the frustration that he feels with the influx of migrants that are, yes, are traveling through the border states but then ultimately coming to his city," Giles said.
Giles termed the situation at the border a "crisis" and said it is of critical importance especially for nonprofits that are called upon by the federal government for assistance to address it.
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