Local leaders from Midwest talk economic issues, infrastructure with Trump admin.


WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — White House officials met with local leaders from the Midwest on Tuesday to discuss big issues affecting their cities and the country. This includes the ongoing opioid crisis, economic development and infrastructure.

“It’s like they say all politics is local,” said board member Chris Guy of Madison County, Illinois. “We’ve had flooding that we’ve recently seen that almost broke record 1993 levels.”

Guy said funding for disaster recovery is a top priority. He wants to rebuild communities and knows it will take time and money.

Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt from Hamilton County, Indiana, is focused on fixing bridges and roads.

“There is a lot of infrastructure needs and transportation is key,” Heirbrandt said.

Local leaders said it’s important for local, state and federal leaders to work together to expand job opportunities. Administration officials said the White House is working with local officials to improve workforce training, identify economic opportunities and support small businesses.

“We have over 5.5. million available jobs in the U.S. and small businesses just being a huge employer across the country are a huge part of that,” said Chris Pilkerton, the acting administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration

Pilkerton said he’s working to better connect companies with skilled workers.

“Working closely with the Office of Employment Training and Assistance and the Department of Labor to identify those jobs and work with small business so they can go to those training centers and hire those people,” Pilkerton said.

Guy said he’s seen efforts like that pay off.

“Individuals who want to be a CNA or a nurse go to the community college through the workforce development program and get excellent jobs,” Guy said.

Those are programs administration officials say hope to build on.

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