Monday, March 11, 2013

Mississippi River Mayors Set to Press New Agenda in Washington

Mayors from along the length of the Mississippi River will gather in Washington, DC next week to advance their newly-developed, River-centric agenda in the halls of Congress and among federal agencies. Mayors representing the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative have scheduled various meetings and public events for March 19 through 21 to formally announce and promote the Initiative's policy goals. Meetings to discuss the Initiative's River-based agenda have been scheduled between the mayors and Congressional leaders in both the House and Senate, as well as with White House staff and representatives of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

In addition to those meetings, a formal announcement of the Initiative-backed Mississippi River Congressional Caucus and of the Initiative's platform are set to occur on March 21, when photographs from along the Mississippi River will serve as a backdrop to the announcements during a 10 AM press conference (Cannon Caucus Room, Cannon House Office Building, 1st Street and Independence Avenue, SE).  The photo exhibit will be free and open to the public from 9 AM  through 3 PM on that day (the entire week's agenda of meetings and events can be viewed here).

The "platform to restore and sustain the Mississippi River" that the mayors are set to announce in full next week is expected to address several River-related issues.  Based upon a listing of concerns on the Initiative's web page, those issues are likely to touch upon River water quality and habitat restoration, flooding and floodplains, River-focused recreation, and sustainable economies.

The Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative consists of mayors from 45 River cities and towns from New Orleans, Louisiana in the south to St. Cloud, Minnesota in the north.  The Initiative is run by a steering committee consisting of one mayoral representative from each of the ten main-stem Mississippi River states, and is co-chaired by St. Louis, Missouri Mayor Francis Slay and St. Cloud, Minnesota Mayor David Kleis.  The entire roster of the Initiative's cities and towns currently includes:
  • Minnesota: St. Cloud, Clearwater, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Red Wing, Winona
  • Wisconsin: Prairie du Chien, Prescott, La Crosse
  • Illinois: Sauget, Prairie du Rocher, Chester, Savanna, East Moline, Grafton, Alton, Moline, Rock Island, Cairo
  • Iowa: Muscatine, Guttenberg, Burlington, Dubuque, Fort Madison, Clinton, Bettendorf, Lansing, Davenport
  • Kentucky: Wickliffe, Columbus
  • Missouri: LaGrange, Clarksville, Ste. Genevieve, Canton, East St. Louis, St. Louis
  • Tennessee: Tiptonville, Memphis
  • Arkansas: Helena, Osceola
  • Mississippi: Vicksburg, Natchez
  • Louisiana: Vidalia, Baton Rouge, New Orleans
Further information about the Initiative, and its policy and legislative platform can be obtained by contacting its Director, Colin Wellenkamp at the Northeast-Midwest Institute ( and 202-464-4010).

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