NewDEAL Forum Releases Agenda for COVID Recovery

February 19, 2021 by TWN Staff
With the U.S. Capitol and Washington Monument in the distance, a man stands at the edge of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool at sunrise, Sunday, June 7, 2020, in Washington.

WASHINGTON – Recognizing the vital role of state and local government in achieving President Biden’s charge for our country to Build Back Better, the NewDEAL Forum released policy recommendations Thursday for responding to immediate crises and addressing long-term challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The report, created by the Forum’s Renewing America Task Force, reflects discussions since the summer that have brought together innovative state and local elected officials along with experts to talk about solutions around six issues related to the recovery.

For each topic, the Task Force specifically addresses opportunities to remedy long-standing inequities that have discriminated against people of color. Policy ideas are accompanied by models that are working across the country. 

“In this moment of crisis, so many state and local leaders have stepped up to offer bold and creative ways to protect their communities from the immediate fall-out of the pandemic, while understanding that the goal of the recovery must not be to restore America to its pre-pandemic condition, but rather to emerge as a more just, prosperous, and secure nation than when the pandemic began,” reads the introduction to the report. ”They are on the frontlines of making this goal a reality.”

The group is led by five co-chairs who are members of the Forum’s sister organization, the NewDEAL, a network of 160 of the most innovative elected officials across the country who are pro-growth progressives:

  • Kate Gallego, Mayor, Phoenix, Ariz.;
  • Garlin Gilchrist II, Lt. Governor, Mich.;
  • Lee Harris, Mayor, Shelby County, Tenn.;
  • Brooke Lierman, Delegate, Baltimore, Md.;
  • Tobias Read, State Treasurer, Ore.

Issues addressed by the Renewing America Task Force Report include:

  • Affordable housing, including how states and cities should target their limited funding to reach those renters, homeowners, and landlords most economically impacted by the pandemic;
  • Child care, including the importance of supporting providers in covering higher costs due to health guidelines and making care more affordable and accessible moving forward;
  • Mass transit, including ways to take the overall transportation system into account in contrast to past policy decisions that have focused on automobile traffic at the expense of other forms of travel;
  • Entrepreneurship, including ideas for helping businesses to protect public health and move services online/operate remotely where possible;
  • Broadband, including ways to improve data on availability and invest in both middle and last-mile deployment; and
  • The social safety net, including the importance of simplifying and centralizing government data to make it easier to serve those in need and ensure they can access services.

“Our country is desperate for leadership that addresses long-time injustices and inequalities that have been exacerbated by this virus, including by embracing the opportunity to tackle systemic racism,” said NewDEAL Forum CEO Debbie Cox Bultan. “The Renewing America Task Force has provided a guide for developing and sharing the best ideas for our recovery among officials who can lead their implementation across the country.” 

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