Chicago area mayors in D.C.

January 17, 2009 6:02:47 PM PST
Mayor Daley said Saturday that he was filled with much pride and excitement because he will witness history, and also, he's proud that the president-elect comes from Chicago. Daley was in Washington over the weekend as the U.S. Conference of Mayors held its mid-winter meeting.

The mayors also wanted to be in Washington for the inauguration. Perhaps, they are looking for a big piece of that economic recovery pie of more than $800 billion to create jobs to fix their crumbling infrastructure and invest in technologies of the future.

During the conference Saturday, those mayors got the message they were looking for from three of president-elect Barack Obama's top advisors.

"Your voices will be heard in this administration. We look forward to a very productive partnership," Obama adviser David Axelrod told the mayors.

The advisors also promised the nation's mayors that tens of billions of economic recovery dollars would be going to their cities, instead of getting caught up in state bureaucracies.

"We are trying to do more than simply spend money. We are trying to spend it in a way that has a lasting impact," Axelrod said.

That message was music to the ears of Chicago area mayors.

"What I heard was a commitment coming out of our new president that they are going to deal with the cities directly," Arlington Heights Mayor Arlene Mulder told ABC7 Chicago.

"The problems and opportunities and challenges that urban environments create, they understand. They get it," City of Chicago lobbyist Frank Kruesi said.

Roland Burris, the new junior senator from Illinois, pledged to help the Obama administration get those recovery dollars to cities like Chicago.

"We are the crossroads of America. We are going to keep those railroads and highways going, the jobs in the United States, that is what Illinois has to do," Burris said during an interview in his new office on Capitol Hill.

Burris is working to put a staff together and learn the ropes, following a controversial appointment by scandal-scarred Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The senator says he is excited about the inauguration, but perhaps, he is has even more butterflies based on the tough job ahead of him.