For months I’ve said, “the federal government, like Elvis, has left the building,” and people laughed. Now we are in a government shutdown, and it’s not funny.
But as I travel around the country, I see metropolitan leaders who are doing the opposite. Every day, they’re doing the hard work to build their economies and grow jobs. This shutdown further exposes that the responsible leaders in this country are primarily in our cities and metropolitan areas.
Real change happens where you live. (It sure isn’t happening at the federal level.) In many respects, this shouldn’t be surprising to us. Metropolitan areas have long been the engines of our economy and the hubs of trade and investment. Now they’re also at the forefront of policy innovation. Networks of metropolitan leaders are investing in infrastructure, making manufacturing a priority and equipping workers with the skills they need.
For everyone who is tired of our dysfunctional federal government, this metropolitan revolution offers a path forward. Metropolitan areas are succeeding in spite of grave economic and political challenges at the national level. As this shutdown continues, my colleagues and I will share some of these recent metropolitan examples on this blog. Here are some to start us off:
- Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez is strengthening his region’s global economic connections by meeting leaders from Cape Town, South Africa
- Boston is expanding its Innovation District, which has added more than 5,000 new jobs in the last four years
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled safe playground facilities, part of the “Building a New Chicago program,” a $7.3 billion infrastructure renewal initiative
- California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to expand the state’s electric vehicle market
- Metropolitan leaders in greater Portland, OR are gathering to discuss economic development, including the region’s tech industry
- CenterState is helping the Syracuse/Central NY region build relationships with Chinese business and government leaders
Please contribute your suggestions in the comments section and on Twitter with #MetrosDontShutDown.