FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 29, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday, National League of Cities First Vice President Mayor Vince Williams of Union City, Ga. testified in front of the House Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth during a hearing on the effects of globalization on US economic disparity. To watch a recording of Mayor Williams’ testimony, click here.
Below is an excerpt from Mayor Williams’ remarks as delivered:
A persistent misconception among some is that being a small town precludes any type of global economic activity. Small towns like Union City can bring home the benefits of globalization. For example, because we have the advantage of being located so close to the busiest airport in the world, companies are attracted to our region. We have had new global investments in Union City thanks to this proximity to a hub for international travel.
One example of our success is ASOS, the fashion and cosmetic retailer. Not only have they opened a fulfillment center in Union City, but they have recently announced an additional $100 million investment for expansion in Union City, which means more employment opportunities. This London based company ships goods to almost 200 countries around the world. This is a prime example of us being a small city, but we can have a big role for our region and state based on our ideal location and proximity to the airport.
For all the benefits of globalization, in many places it has also accelerated rising inequality and exacerbated longstanding racial inequities. Even in cities and towns that have developed ways to take advantage of globalization, the benefits of globalization do not reach low-income workers or historically disadvantaged communities without proactive efforts by local leaders to advance racial equity.
In order to address these inequities, it is incumbent on the federal government to be intentional about how communities are supported. Job security depends on more than training alone. To arrive reliably to work, employees need stable housing, access to healthcare, and affordable, decent options for childcare and schooling. Most local governments not able to provide for these alone. If we want to expect international companies to invest in our cities, Congress and the federal government must demonstrate a willingness to increase investment in our cities and towns too. As former Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield put it, “People invest in places that inspire a passion for living.”
The infrastructure and reconciliation bills that are being considered today are fundamentally important to local efforts to bring home the benefits of globalization.
We need your help federally as a team member in the globalization process. The local, state, and federal team effort is the right approach, and we stand ready to do our part.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.