Washington, D.C. – COG Chair and Montgomery County Councilmember Mike Knapp told area leaders that the top challenges facing the region present opportunities to jumpstart the economy and meet long-term goals. Knapp listed ‘Nine Key Regional Issues in ‘09’ at today’s COG Annual Luncheon at the National Press Club.
COG’s ‘Nine in ‘09’ List:
1. Regional Economy
3. Climate Change
4. Federal-State Partnership
6. Emergency Preparedness
7. Greater Washington 2050
8. Pedestrian Safety
9. Anacostia Watershed Restoration
“In a little over a month, our new neighbor at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is developing plans to stimulate the economy and he is focusing on many of the same priorities we have identified as a region like economic development, transportation and climate change,” Knapp said. “We cannot pass up the chance to collaborate closely with the [Obama] administration because this region is well-positioned to be an effective test lab for new programs and investment.”
The economic crisis and its impact on the region was the dominant topic at the meeting. Keynote speaker Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post said the region and nation should focus on key investments that will result in long-term returns in areas like transit, early childhood education, and the modernization of the health care industry. He also noted that President-Elect Obama has re-elevated the image of public service as a career.
“The region should leverage the enthusiasm of the new generation of bright, young, ambitious people who will seek to come here,” Pearlstein said. “NoMa (a downtown D.C. neighborhood north of Massachusetts Avenue) will become the new SoHo (a popular neighborhood in lower Manhattan).”
In early 2009, Knapp said COG will focus on how regional priorities can be addressed through a new federal stimulus package.
Podcasts of the full audio of the keynote speech by Pearlstein and ‘Nine in ‘09’ speech by Knapp are posted on the COG podcast page.