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Columbia Business Monthly

Accelerator for America Convenes in Columbia

Feb 19, 2018 09:17AM ● By Kathleen Maris

The second meeting of Accelerator for America's Advisory Council will take place in Columbia on Tuesday, Feb. 20 and Wednesday, Feb. 21. It will be hosted by Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, who is an Accelerator Advisory Council Member and the incoming president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The chair of the Accelerator Advisory Council is Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Interviews are available and a press conference and photo opportunity of the meeting in progress will be available on the afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 21.

"Americans need help as they confront rising healthcare premiums, debt, and a changing economy, but we can't count on Washington to get anything done. Mayors don't debate - we act, and in partnership with business and nonprofit leaders, we are taking the lead and creating jobs in our neighborhoods, all across the nation. The Accelerator is a unique and critical resource for us to connect and help each other make a difference in people's lives, city by city, community by community. Together, our local successes can show our nation the path forward to greater prosperity and a better quality of life," Garcetti said.

"We’re excited to serve as host for the Accelerator for America in Columbia, South Carolina," said Benjamin. "This gathering of my fellow mayors and a truly remarkable collection of private sector and NGO leaders will spark ideas about how to make life better in our city and will prove to be valuable in our work on the national level as I prepare to assume the presidency of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. I look forward to introducing Accelerator for America to all of the growth and positive change taking place in Columbia.”

With Washington broken, local innovators in city halls, nonprofits, and businesses across America are taking it upon themselves to improve people’s lives. Accelerator for America provides strategic support to replicate successful local initiatives in other communities, with a singular focus on initiatives that connect people with fulfilling work. It is not a think tank - it is a "do tank."

The Accelerator is currently connecting with local governments across the country to help them succeed in generating local infrastructure revenues. An example is Los Angeles County's Measure M, which was approved in November 2016 and generates $120 billion and 465,000 career jobs. On that same election day, which also elected Donald Trump to the White House, local governments nationwide approved $230 billion in local infrastructure improvements. The Accelerator launched its infrastructure initiative at its inaugural meeting in South Bend, Ind. in November:

“Mayoral leadership is more critical now than ever, and the Accelerator creates an action-oriented forum to connect mayors with some of America’s best and brightest from across the private and public sectors. This group should be commended for creating solutions that will help Americans realize better opportunities. Fulfilling jobs that give people dignity and opportunity are essential to the future of our economy and society," said Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, president of The Rockefeller Foundation, who will attend the meeting.

The Accelerator for America Advisory Council:

· Eric Garcetti (Chair), Mayor of Los Angeles, Calif.

· Megan Barry, Mayor of Nashville, Tenn.

· Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, S.C.

· Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO, PolicyLink

· Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Ind.

· James T. Callahan, General President, International Union of Operating Engineers

· Cheryl Dorsey, President, Echoing Green

· Michael Dubin, Founder & CEO, Dollar Shave Club

· Cyrus Habib, Lt. Governor, Wash.

· Bruce Katz, Brookings Institution (until March 1)

· Gregory A. Kelly, President and CEO, WSP USA

· Michael Lynton, Chairman of the Board, Snap Inc.

· Doug McCarron, General President, United Brotherhood of Carpenters

· Swati Mylavarapu, CEO,

· Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder & CEO, Social Capital LP

· Steve Robinson, CEO, Reimagine

· Rob Slimp, President and CEO of HNTB

· Anna Valencia, City Clerk of Chicago

· Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio

Also attending and making presentations at the meeting are:

· Mayor John Cranley, City of Cincinnati, Ohio

· Steve Leeper, CEO of 3CDC (Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation)

· Penny Pritzker – Former Secretary of Commerce and founder and Chairman of PSP Partners

· Dr. Rajiv Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

· Fred Yang, Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group

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