Constituent Services
Congressman Higgins Announces Revitalizing Older Cities Field Hearing Panel Speakers
August 14, 2008

Local and National Experts To Focus on Older City Issues Related to Housing, Economic Development & Water Infrastructure


Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27), co-chair of the Congressional Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force, announced that the federal task force in conjunction with the Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition will host “Toward a 21st Century Community: A Revitalizing Older Cities Field Hearing” in Western New York.  The hearing will be held at 10am on August 15th at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum in Buffalo. 


“Regions like ours across the nation are facing unique challenges related to a changing economy, deteriorating housing stock and outdated infrastructure,” said Congressman Higgins.  “This is a great opportunity for Western New York to directly influence national policies that can help create change that benefits older cities like Buffalo, Jamestown, Lackawanna, Dunkirk and towns like Cheektowaga.”


Panel speakers for the event will include:

Panel One: Housing

  • Mary Holtz, Supervisor of the Town of Cheektowaga, Challenges of Inner Ring Suburbs
  • John Murphy, Executive Director of Chautauqua Home Rehabilitation and 
    Improvement Corporation, Revitalizing Neighborhoods in Small Communities within Chautauqua County
  • Mike Clarke, LISC, Meeting the Challenge of Vacant Housing with Federal Policy
  • Steven Weiss, Partner, Cannon Heyman and Weiss, Housing and Economic Development Incentives: The Success of Federal Tax Credit Programs


Panel Two: Water Infrastructure

  • Maria Lehman, P.E., F.ASCE, Business Sector Director, Transportation Systems, and former Director of Public Works for Erie County, The Need for Wastewater Infrastructure Investment for America's Older Urban Areas
  • Adam Krantz, Managing Director, Government & Public Affairs, National Association of Clean Water Agencies Environmental and Economic Benefits of a commitment to water infrastructure

Panel Three: Economic Development

  • Brian Reilly Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development City of Buffalo, Economic Development Issues in Buffalo
  • Abby Wilson, Co-founder of Great Lakes Urban Exchange, Regional Collaboration and Information Sharing for Restoring Prosperity
  • Charles Bartsch, Vice-President, ICF International: Policy Issues and Opportunities: Maximizing the Impact of Scarce Federal Resources
  • Rob Atkinson, President, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, visiting Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Clusters and Competitiveness: A New Federal Role for Stimulating Regional Economies


The “Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force,” dedicated to addressing the plight of this region’s older cities, was formed early this year by members of the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition.  The Northeast-Midwest Coalition was established over 30 years ago because federal legislators from these regions recognized that their needs are similar and by working together they can have a greater impact on the issues specific to their unique constituency.  Congressman Higgins and Congressman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) were appointed to serve as Co-Chairs of the Older Cities Task Force by Chairman Jim Oberstar of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, who also Co-Chairs the Northeast-Midwest Congressional Coalition. 


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