Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb meets with newly elected mayors at the White House

Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval of Cincinnati, second from left, speaks with reporters after attending meetings at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Standing with Pureval are Mayor-elect Justin Bibb of Cleveland, from left, Mayor-elect Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, Fla., Mayor Jim Ross of Arlington, Texas, Mayor-elect Andre Dickens of Atlanta and Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval of Cincinnati, second from left, speaks with reporters after attending meetings at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. Standing with Pureval are Mayor-elect Justin Bibb of Cleveland, from left, Mayor-elect Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, Fla., Mayor Jim Ross of Arlington, Texas, Mayor-elect Andre Dickens of Atlanta and Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Tenn. [Patrick Semansky / AP]
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Cleveland Mayor-elect Justin Bibb visited the White House on Tuesday with other newly elected mayors for briefings with the Biden administration.

White House officials spoke with the mayors about federal resources available for cities through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and infrastructure bill, according to a press release.

The mayors spoke with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. All three cabinet secretaries are former mayors themselves – Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., Walsh of Boston and Fudge of Warrensville Heights.

“They understand the importance of us as mayors being kind of the first line of defense to make sure that we get these dollars out to our communities to make sure we can come back out of this pandemic better than ever,” Bibb told Ideastream Public Media after the meeting.

Bibb and other mayors met with Vice President Kamala Harris and received a surprise tour of the Oval Office from President Joe Biden, the mayor-elect said.

“He talked about the importance of being mayor and how, regardless of if you’re Republican or Democrat, you got to get the job done,” Bibb said of the president. “He also talked about the importance of urgency and how we can’t waste this moment right now to finally fix some of these structural issues that have really undermined cities like Cleveland for far too long.”

Cincinnati Mayor-elect Aftab Pureval was among the bipartisan group of city chief executives. Also attending, according to the White House:

  • Mayor-elect Eric Adams of New York City
  • Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston
  • Mayor-elect Andre Dickens of Atlanta
  • Mayor-elect Bruce Harrell of Seattle
  • Mayor-elect Ken Welch of St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Mayor-elect Daniel Rickenmann of Columbia, S.C.
  • Mayor Tim Kelly of Chattanooga, Tenn.
  • Mayor Jim Ross of Arlington, Texas

Cleveland City Council this year approved a framework for spending the first half of the city’s $511 million in ARPA funding. With the exception of public safety spending, many specific programs and projects will require additional approval from the new city council next year.

The city will receive the second helping of federal funds in 2022.

Bibb will take office as mayor Jan. 3.  

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