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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom


Louisville, Lexington to Start Regional Economic Initiative

Thursday June 30, 2011

Brookings Institution to provide support on ‘Next Economy’ Project

At the Clinton Global Initiative America event held in Chicago today, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced their intention to undertake a joint regional economic development initiative to improve both cities’ competitiveness in advanced manufacturing.

With support from the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program, this 18-month project will determine how Kentucky’s two largest cities can build on existing strengths and work together to achieve significant job growth in advanced manufacturing and other key industry sectors.

As home to Ford and Toyota and the numerous companies that supply these multinational corporations, the Louisville and Lexington region is already a center of advanced manufacturing in the United States.

Fischer and Gray believe their cities can grow even more jobs around the sector and have advocated the creation of a super-region to strengthen Kentucky’s position in the global economy, particularly with regard to advanced automotive manufacturing.

The CGI America event, hosted by former President Bill Clinton, provided them with a unique venue to announce their intentions and work with other leaders from the worlds of industry, government, and nonprofits who are also interested in bringing about a new era of American manufacturing.

During this week’s event, the mayors gained new perspectives on how to facilitate growth in the manufacturing sector. In the coming months, the cities of Lexington and Louisville will work with a variety of business, higher education, and civic leaders in Kentucky to expand on the plans that the mayors began to formulate in Chicago.

Gray and Fischer also announced that they have selected Jim Host, former Commerce Secretary for Kentucky, to chair the super-region study.

“Jim Host has credibility in both Louisville and Lexington and is the right person to lead us in a new economic direction,” Fischer said. “He understands the economies of both cities better than anyone else in the Commonwealth and he understands that, for Kentucky as a whole to be successful, Louisville and Lexington must be successful.”

“Louisville and Lexington, like America itself, need to ask what are our assets, what are our strengths and weaknesses, what can we leverage in new and inventive ways to create jobs and growth in a global marketplace. Brookings represents the best brand in the world for innovation and imagination, so it's a tribute to both our cities to win this selection,” Gray said.

The project will cost $250,000 and be funded with private dollars being raised jointly by Commerce Lexington and Greater Louisville Inc.

Laura Chandler, who worked on the Louisville Arena Authority with Host, has agreed to serve as project manager.

Mayors Fischer and Gray will elaborate on their regional plan on August 11 during the Leadership Louisville luncheon at the Galt House and again in Lexington on August 17 at the Commerce Lexington Policy Luncheon. The official launch is this fall. For more information on that event, please visit http://www.leadershiplouisville.org/events/lll_2011registration

ABOUT CGI/CGI America

Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, along with heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion.

CGI America is the first CGI meeting focused exclusively on driving job creation and economic growth in the U.S. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making.