Vice President Joe Biden called Linda Langston, Linn County supervisor, this week to include her in a conference call with five other local officials from around the nation.
Biden wanted to know how the federal government’s new stimulus package — the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — is working at the local level.
Langston says she asked Biden if there was a way for more of the federal money to be driven down to the metropolitan areas so that it doesn’t all have to go through states, or if it must all go to states, if there was a way to expedite how it gets to localities from there.
Langston says she also talked to Biden about how money gets to local communities to fund public health programs like those related to the prevention of chronic diseases.
Part of the conversation focused on transit funds and how to order and buy hybrid buses, and beyond that, how to make federal funding available for a wider assortment of fuel-efficient cars and trucks from squad cars to garbage trucks.
Langston figures she and another county official were included in the Biden call because Biden has a fondness for county officials. That’s where he got his start in public life, Langston says.
Langston says Biden is getting a follow-up letter from her about funding for public health and for matters related to flood recovery in Cedar Rapids and Linn County.
Also on the call were Carl Dean, mayor of Nashville, Tenn.; R.T. Rybak, mayor of Minneapolis; John Robert Smith, mayor of Meridian, Miss.; Barbara Fiala, county executive, Broom County, New York; and Darwin Hyman, mayor of Columbia, Mo.