The director of America 2050 at the Regional Plan Association, Petra Todorovich was recently featured in Land Lines, the newsletter of the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. Launched in 2005, America 2050 is an urban planning initiative to develop a national infrastructure and growth strategy through the contributions of leaders in transportation, land use planning, social equity, and urban development.
In the Land Lines interview, Todorovich discussed a recent RPA-Lincoln Institute research seminar that focused on economically underperforming areas of the country whose employment, population and wages have failed to keep pace with the nation.
“A national infrastructure and growth strategy must address the role these regions and places can play in transitioning to a low-carbon economy,” she said. “This will require massive investment in the design, production and installation of renewable energy and efficiency components, storage and transmission.”
For the fall, Todorovich was organizing an America 2050 National Leadership meeting in Washington to update the group’s progress across the nation’s megagregions and to discuss policy recommendations and legislative strategies. America 2050’s vision calls for an ambitious infrastructure investments in sustainable transportation, the energy grid, and "green" water infrastructure to shape quality communities, create jobs, and make the nation more competitive and livable in the 21st century.
Previously at RPA, Todorovich directed the Region's Core program and coordinated the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York, a network of organizations that came together in the aftermath of 9/11 to promote the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site and Lower Manhattan. She planned numerous Civic Alliance events, including the 2002 "Listening to the City" meetings at the Javits Center attended by over 4,500 people to consider plans for the World Trade Center site.
has reached out to its membership through an online survey for their thoughts on the organization’s mission and what activities it should sponsor. A number of alumni participated during the fall in planning the future of the association. One result was the development of the survey to engage greater participation in the “vision” of a more effective association. The survey is available here.
These two recent MPAP graduates hold down two of the most critical jobs in New Jersey politics, serving as the state directors for U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (Lenox) and Robert Menendez (Soliman.)
As state directors, Lenox and Soliman provide strategic advice on policy and political matters, and manage over 20 staff members each in multiple state offices. The state offices handle constituent casework, set up meetings for the senators to communicate directly with constituents, and ensure that the legislative agendas developed on Capitol Hill are in line with the needs of New Jersey’s nine million residents. Lenox and Soliman said they interact frequently and that they have come to work closely together on behalf of Senators Lautenberg and Menendez.
Lenox and Soliman credit the Bloustein School with preparing them to meet the challenges of public service. “The Bloustein School is tremendous in that it makes clear the interaction between public policy and politics, in that one is intertwined with the other and you need both to be successful,” said Soliman.
“The MPAP program taught me how to make complex decisions, and, more importantly, how to implement and communicate those decisions,” Lenox said. “It also gave me the ability to analyze complex data, improved my debate skills and honed my desire to remain in public service and continue to try to make a difference.”
Lenox started working for Senator Lautenberg in November 2007, after serving as a Legislative Affairs Coordinator with the New Jersey State AFL-CIO where he worked with state and federal legislators to advance pro-working family legislation. Soliman became the State Director for Senator Menendez in September 2007. While at the Bloustein School, he worked as District Director for Congressman Steven Rothman and managed the Congressman’s state operations for several years.
Bloomberg News has published freelance writer/photographer Michael Luongo's latest travel piece, "My Baghdad Beckons With Bazaars, Cafes, Hopeful People." The author of several books, including Gay Travels in the Muslim World and the Frommer's Guide to Buenos Aires, Luongo in August was quoted in The New York Times travel section and was interviewed for C-Span's BookTV.
The Pawtucket Foundation, headed by Thomas Mann, is spearheading a campaign to dramatically improve transportation access in the Rhode Island community. The improvements include the addition of an MBTA commuter rail stop in Pawtucket, located just north of Providence, bus rapid transit, and bicycle and pedestrian improvements.