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Council members attend national meeting

Tuesday, March 8, 2016 by Jo Clifton

City Council members Pio Renteria, Leslie Pool and Ann Kitchen are attending the National League of Cities conference in Washington, D.C., this week, although Kitchen planned to return home Monday night (last night); the conference ends Wednesday. Kitchen, who chairs the Council Mobility Committee, told the Austin Monitor that she was especially interested in discussions she had attended about how to get more money to local communities for transportation options. In particular, she cited the FAST Act – which stands for Fixing America’s Surface Transportation – as legislation recently passed that might help Austin. Pool, who attended the United Nations climate change conference in Paris last year, is interested in conversations the group is having about environmental and energy issues and has been invited to serve on a committee on those issues. She will be meeting with Texas Sen. John Cornyn and staff of Sen. Ted Cruz while she is in Washington. Pool said she is footing the bill for her trip. She is hoping to attend the Democratic National Convention to help bring the candidates’ attention to the needs of the nation’s cities. A spokesman for Renteria said he would be attending meetings with Julian Castro, the Secretary Housing and Urban Development; and Anthony Foxx, Secretary of Transportation. In addition, Renteria plans to meet with officials from the Department of the Interior. The Tejano Healthy Walking Trail and Trail of Tejano Music Legends in East Austin, which Renteria worked on with his wife, Lori Renteria, have been recognized by the department as National Recreation Trails, the spokesman said, and Renteria is hoping that other Austin trails will get that designation as well. Pool mentioned that City Manager Marc Ott and Assistant City Manager Mark Washington are also attending the conference and that Austin has received an award for cultural diversity.

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