Thomas M. Menino

Excerpts from a Monitor breakfast with Boston's mayor on economic aid for cities.

Thomas M. Menino is mayor of Boston and president of the US Conference of Mayors. Mayor Menino began serving as Boston's acting mayor in 1993, and was first elected to the office in November of that year for a four-year term. He was unopposed for re-election in 1997, and won overwhelmingly in 2001.

On the need for additional federal aid to cities and states:

"We are looking for the federal government to help bail out states on Medicaid payments. There is about $60 to $80 billion out there that is owed to the states. [As] go the states, so go the cities, because locally the programs trickle down to us."

On the odds of selling additional aid in the current budget climate:

"This is not a Democrat/Republican issue. We have many mayors who are supporting us on these [issues] who are Republican mayors. They understand the economics of this.

"I think some of the meetings we have had over the past six months with Republican US senators have been helpful to them as they learn about the plight of our cities. They understand [that] the cities really are a part of the economy. It is where America began, in cities."

On whether President Bush's tax plan helps cities:

"I always kid about the issue of no taxes on dividends for stocks. I have gone around ... asking people whom that affects. I found one person it affects in the city of Boston. Also it hurts the city because ... it raises the cost of going out to the bond market."

"[For] workforce development, they give you $4,000. That is after you find the job. What happens while you are trying to find that job? You can't use that $4,000 to go into a job training program."

On the impact of landing the 2004 Democratic convention:

"Conventions are looking at Boston a little differently today because of Democrats making that choice of Boston for 2004.

"People are saying now, if the Democrats are coming there with their 35,000 people, we can come there. We are going to open a new convention center in 2004."

On whether he will run for reelection:

"I am not telling you that. I have no other plans. I love my job. I have the best job in America, I really do, even with all the problems we have and the tribulations we have. I've been there 10 years and I am still having fun. I enjoy it. It is a tough job, toughest job in America..."

On whether Senator John Kerry is warming up as a presidential candidate:

"Oh, he is really warm. He is hot; he is real hot. Honestly I tell you, Senator Kerry has come a long way. He did have the appearance several years ago of being standoffish. He is reaching out to more folks than he has in the past.... Senator Kerry has been out there listening much better than he has in the past. He has a wealth of knowledge and the team that he is putting in place ... is a good team. He is more responsive than he has [been] - and not just this year, last year and the year before. I have seen over the last four years a real change in his attitude."

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