By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Mayor Jack Reed Jr. was among some 200 municipal leaders hand-picked to participate in an economic summit at the White House last week.
Returning from his trip, Reed told the Daily Journal on Wednesday he was honored to have been among the chosen participants, and he agrees with some of Washington’s job-creating ideas.
“It was a vigorous discussion,” Reed said of the four-hour meeting. “They said, ‘We want to hear from you, and we’re primarily interested in jobs.’ Most of the conversion was about economy and jobs.”
Reed was selected at the recommendation of the National League of Cities and met with key officials in President Barack Obama’s administration and cabinet.
Among those at the gathering were White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation.
Also present were the mayors of Hattiesburg and Jackson, as well as the head of the Mississippi Municipal League. Cities from across the nation were represented.
“These other cities were in such more dire circumstances than we’re in,” Reed said. “I walked out of there feeling we’re very fortunate with Toyota and its suppliers to have optimism and a bounce in our step about employment.”
Reed said national officials pitched some ideas for rebooting the economy, and he agreed with several of them. For businesses: payroll tax cuts on current employees and a payroll tax holiday on new hires. For employees: extending income tax cuts. For homeowners: encouraging Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to refinance existing mortgages.
“These don’t seem either Republican or Democrat ideas to me,” Reed said, noting that Obama’s team never delved into partisan politicking.
Afterward, participants attended a reception and met Obama. Reed said he shook the president’s hand.