Holloway addresses U.S. mayors on recovery

Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway and leaders of New Orleans and Miami this morning are discussing the hurricane recovery efforts in their cities during remarks to hundreds of mayors from across the country, who are in Washington through Friday for the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.

“The key to our recovery,” Holloway told convention delegates, “is going to be -investment from the private sector: the casino resorts, the hotels and restaurants that make up our tourism industry, as well as the revival of the small businesses, and the construction of affordable housing.

“The role of local government – whether it’s in Biloxi, in New Orleans, or in any city across the country – is to set the table for economic development.”

The mayor’s 12-minute presentation included video clips from the city’s “Katrina & Biloxi” DVD, but Holloway repeated remarks President Bush’s remarks during a Biloxi visit four days after the storm: “You don’t fully comprehend the magnitude of the destruction until, to use his words, you get your feet down in it.”

Holloway was invited to address the conference by Tom Cochran, longtime executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who visited Biloxi and the Gulf Coast in the wake of the storm. Also scheduled to speak at the convention opening session were New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagi and Miami Mayor Manuel A. Diaz.

Holloway prefaced his remarks with a message from the residents of Biloxi “to all of those mayors and city leaders from across this great country who have called or e-mailed us with words of encouragement or donated personnel, equipment or money: Thank you. From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of the citizens of Biloxi: I say thank you.

“Your gestures, and your thoughts and prayers are sincerely appreciated. Words cannot adequately express our deep sense of gratitude. God bless all of you.”

To read the text of the mayor’s remarks, click here.