Monday, April 5, 2004
WASHINGTON - Rep. Mike Turner, who represents northern Warren County, is taking his new job as chairman of the Republican Saving America's Cities initiative pretty seriously.
Turner full of ideas for helping cities
Named to the new post in December by House Speaker Dennis Hastert, the former Dayton, Ohio, mayor has been a whirlwind of Power Point presentations, Capitol Hill schmoozefests and brainstorming.
His goal: to bring investment back to cities.
"Jobs. Bricks-and-mortar projects. Bring development back to cities," the freshman said.
His 20-member Republican task force, which includes Rep. Rob Portman, has its official kickoff later this month, but he's already busy.
He helped organize a briefing March 2 on the state of the nation's cities. He joined a group of mayors, including Akron's, to announce that he will introduce a bill to provide $1 billion in tax credits for people who develop brownfields, contaminated industrial sites.
His task force is pondering what the federal government can do about revamping blighted public housing, helping homeowners revitalize historic properties and cleaning up brownfields.
"Our nation's cities are facing a crisis," he said last week to a group of city-focused organizations including the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Trust for Historic Preservation.
Also busy: Portman found himself in the unusual position this week of being on two conference committees. Those are the joint House-Senate negotiators who write the final versions of any bill. The Terrace Park Republican bounced between negotiations on a budget bill and a pension bill. "It gives you a chance to make a little bit more of a difference," he said. "But to be in two conferences in one week was a little crazy."
And look, they got coverage: The Bush campaign in Ohio isn't missing any opportunities for news conferences, no matter how newsless.
Tuesday, Republicans in the state House and Senate endorsed Bush at a Statehouse news conference. Friday, the campaign announced members of the Bush-Cheney '04 Ohio Farm & Ranch Steering Committee at a farm near Delaware, 30 miles north of Columbus.
They did spell his name right: After the Senate passed Mike DeWine's Unborn Victims of Violence Bill, he and other senators had a news conference. And he did get publicity.
The Washington Post ran a big photo of "Mike DeWine" to go with their story about the bill.
Unfortunately, though the caption called him DeWine, the photo was of South Carolina's Lindsey Graham.
The BILL bill: No bill in Washington can be introduced unless it has a catchy title - preferably an acronym.
Sen. Mike DeWine this week re-introduced the FIRE Act (Firefighter Investment and Response Enhancement) and the NOPEC Act (No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels). The first provides grants to fire departments. The second would allow the United States to sue Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members for collusion.
All DeWine all the time: DeWine has named Scott Noyes as regional director for his Cincinnati office. The Toledo native and Navy veteran will oversee the senior senator's work in Southwest Ohio. He has worked in the office for four years.
Carl Weiser covers Washington news for the Enquirer. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (202) 906-8134.
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