White House Roundtable to Highlight Challenges of Diverse, Middle Class Suburbs

Building One Pennsylvania hosted a White House Round Table meeting in August 2012 in Valley Forge with the White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, David Agnew. This was one of four Round Tables that Building One America and its affiliates organized. Others were held in Michigan, Colorado, Arizona, Ohio, and New Jersey).

The Pennsylvania meeting, which was attended by 60 local leaders representing 35 towns, resulted in several tangible outcomes: Mr. Agnew affirmed the White House’s support for the work that we have been doing with HUD over the past year to reform federal housing programs to promote opportunity rather than continue to over-steer low-income housing into our middle class suburban communities – communities that are already diverse, increasingly fiscally challenged, and declining in opportunity.

Mr. Agnew also heard our concerns about how infrastructure investments and education policy can better serve our diverse, middle class towns and he pledged to broker meetings with EPA Secretary Lisa Jackson and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. In particular, he recognized that EPA demands on our aging storm-water and sewer systems have put tremendous fiscal pressure on our communities that get passed on to homeowners and businesses in the form of increased property taxes and utility rates.