Stephen Henderson talks with Congressman Dan Kildee (D-MI 5) about urban revitalization and some of the political hurdles Michigan cities are facing. Kildee is the U.S. representative of Michigan’s fifth district.
They discuss what urban revitalization looks like from a larger policy perspective. Some of the important points that emerge from their conversation are:
- State and federal policy: Kildee emphasizes that city governments are not solely responsible for urban problems. He believes private companies, globalization, and state and federal policies have all played a role in creating urban crisis. Kildee argues that state and federal governments have to begin to prioritize cities in order to help solve pervasive urban problems.
- Suburban divide: Stephen and Kildee agree that suburbs and metro areas are tied to cities. Kildee says that it is easier for suburbs to separate themselves from cities in the short term, but they are connected in the long term. He believes that if suburbs faced the economic and social problems that cities like Detroit or Flint face the political response would be different.
- Long Term Plan: Kildee says that policy on the federal and state level is shortsighted across the board. He says that as a nation we are seeing continued cuts to long-term programs that would pay off in the future.
- Race is Important: Kildee claims that one of the reasons cities do not get state or national attention is because urban populations are poorer and black. He says race is a fundamental problem in the U.S., and that Obama’s term as president has ended the illusion of a post-racial society.
Click the audio link above to hear the full conversation.