They say that in politics, contacts go far.
They can bring you influence and inside information. They can be the difference between a community getting big money from the state or federal government or losing a chance at such cash.
Mayor James Fiorentini had a chance to cultivate contacts recently, when he attended the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C.
Fiorentini attended a reception with 250 other Mayors hosted by President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House.
The president talked about the need for more grants for workforce development. He also said he has appropriated $55 million for community colleges. Fiorentini relayed that news to Lane Glenn, president of Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill.
The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,399 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.
The primary roles of the conference are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy, strengthen relationships between the federal government and cities, ensure that federal policy meets urban needs, provide mayors with leadership and management tools, and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information.
“It was an incredible opportunity to attend the reception at the White House,'' Fiorentini said. "To be in the same room with the president was exciting and to hear President Obama’s vision for workforce development was exciting.
“When the president referenced the community college appropriation, I called Lane to give him the good news,'' Fiorentini said of the NECC president. “Increasing job opportunities for our residents is one of my priorities.
“Meeting with other mayors at the conference gives me the opportunity to see what is working in other communities and see if it would be applicable for us,” Fiorentini said. "