Cumberland Times-News

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March 26, 2013

Sen. Mikulski visits city

Meets with officials to discuss ways to spur jobs and growth

CUMBERLAND — U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski visited Cumberland on Tuesday and met with local officials, including Mayor Brian Grim and Frostburg Mayor Bob Flanigan, to discuss ways the federal government can assist in improving economic growth and job opportunities in the area.

The closed door meeting was held at City Hall where Mikulski spent nearly two hours with officials.

The purpose of the Maryland Democrat’s visit to Western Maryland was promoted as a jobs initiative.

“We talked about how we can generate jobs in this economy,” said Mikulski.

Grim was pleased to talk with Mikulski about the U.S. Route 220 North/South corridor.

“Anything short of a connection right at the city of Cumberland is not an option for me,” said Grim.

Grim said Mikulski had indicated her support for his position.

Flanigan was thankful for the senator’s visit.

“It warms our heart that she took time out from her busy schedule,” said Flanigan.

Flanigan, who hopes to see a stronger law enforcement presence in schools, was encouraged by the visit.

“We want to secure funding for economic growth and public safety,” he said.

Grim also was thankful for the chance to talk about post-secondary education and public safety.

“It’s good to have the senator here to find out what we need from the federal government,” he said.

Mikulski delivered a positive message after the meeting.

“We discussed how the federal government can help rural communities in tight budget times. I’m on you side,” said Mikulski.

The ongoing logjam in government had been broken on several fronts,  Mikulski said.

She pointed out that the  sequester was triggered on March 21 with its deep cuts, a threat of government shutdown for March 27 and a Senate that has not passed a budget in four years.

“Last week, we broke the logjam. The government will not shut down,” said Mikulski.

She cited last week’s passage of a continuing funding resolution with a 76-23 vote that will keep government from closing.

“It’s the first time in four years,” said Mikulski.

Mikulski said she worked closely with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as well as others, to get the bill through.

“I’ve worked with Sen. Shelby of Alabama to set a tone to get away from ultimatum politics and brinksmanship,” she said.

“We can disagree on policies, but let’s agree on process and procedures. Let’s talk to each other and not at each other through cable TV,” said Mikulski.

Mikulski said lawmakers were able to add $700 million in funding for transportation.

“If you add a road here, the funding is not going to China,” said Mikulski.

Mikulski said the sequester is still with us for now.

“I believe in the next six to eight weeks they’ll work hard and fast on it,” she said.

Greg Larry can be contacted at glarry@times-news.com.

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