Today, America is experiencing the longest period of growth and prosperity in our history. And cities are the engines driving that growth. Our metro economies have accounted for as much as 90 percent of America's economic growth since 1992.
Because America has turned the biggest budget deficits in history into the biggest surpluses in history, we can now afford to do what's right for our cities, and reverse the urban neglect that defined federal policy in the 80's and early 90's.
That is exactly what Al Gore has worked to do these past eight years to build a future where there are good jobs, and growing businesses, in every community.
As Chairman of President Clinton's Community Empowerment Board, Al Gore has led the administration's efforts at urban and rural revival. By creating hundreds of Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities, this approach has supported grassroots efforts to bring private investment and jobs to neglected communities, and to encourage businesses to invest in inner cities.
The empowerment initiative has:
Cut taxes and freed local communities from the burdens of regulation, so they can grow businesses and create new jobs;
Helped entrepreneurs get the capital they need to reach for the own dreams;
Helped to move people from welfare to work, and helped them succeed in the workplace;
Cleaned up the environment while creating new jobs, by revitalizing abandoned, contaminated areas known as "Brownfields."
In addition to leveraging billions of dollars in private investment and creating countless new jobs, these efforts also served as the model for the Clinton-Gore administration's New Markets Initiative. And it has resulted in a new bipartisan agreement to create a Round III of new Empowerment Zones across America.
Al Gore believes that for all our success, there are still too many people whose potential is not fully tapped. As we open markets around the world, he is committed to opening markets down the block and around the corner.
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