WOODBINE — Mayor William Pikolycky joined about 100 mayors from around the country at the White House last week to meet with President Donald Trump and hear his plans for helping towns.

“He went off his speech a little bit, but it was all good stuff,” Pikolycky said Friday.

The meeting with Trump didn’t go quite as Pikolycky had hoped, though the mayor said the face-to-face meetings with government officials who make decisions and designate funding more than made up for not having the desired one-on-one meeting with the president.

“It was nice to see the president, nice to shake his hand at the beginning and end of his speech, but when the rubber meets the road, it’s nice to meet the people who supply the funding,” Pikolycky said.

Trump’s speech to the mayors Jan. 24 lasted just more than 15 minutes. The president touched on several of his key messages to the nation, along with pledges to help the mayors, whom he described as important to the future of the country.

“Thank you for your leadership,” Trump said to the assemblage of mayors. “You truly are great leaders and important leaders; friendship, partnership, and together we will usher in a very bold new era of peace and prosperity.”

Pikolycky said Trump lingered just long enough after his speech to shake hands with each of the municipal leaders, while members of the media called out questions about the ongoing Russia probe.

“The media disrespected the issues that we were there for,” Pikolycky said. “They paid no attention to the mayors or the mayors’ concerns.”

It is important that the media pay attention to the mayors’ issues, Pikolycky said, because many of those issues affect municipalities across the country, big and small.

“I’m in a small municipality, and they’re very large, but they put their pants on the same way that I do,” he said. “We share a lot of the same infrastructure issues.”

Many roads, streets, landfills, airports and other properties are municipally owned throughout the country. In many cases, it is government funding that allows for planning, construction and maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure, the mayor said.

“What Trump did is allow us to talk to his Cabinet secretaries after he left the room,” Pikolycky said. “Now, I’m really getting some movement on some of my projects.”

Pikolycky has several applications for grants filed with various federal agencies, including the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Agriculture.

“It was worth my trip to be there to get access to the necessary departments that I have to get access to those people,” Pikolycky said. “I met with DOT and HUD. These are programs that we get money from for my community. I also met people from Department of Education and the USDA, and they’re moving my projects forward. Looks like a worthwhile trip.”

With thousands of mayors across the country vying for the chance to be included in the sit-down with Trump, Pikolycky said it was his ongoing interactions with the federal government that netted him an invitation to the Mayors’ Day meeting.

“I’ve been dealing with the White House for the last six months about Woodbine issues,” he said. “The adviser there felt that it was important that I be one of the 75 mayors sitting around the table with the president.”

To watch Trump’s speech to the mayors go to youtube.com/watch?v=8Fa4W6bgxUI.

Contact: 609-601-5193 david.benson@catamaranmedia.com Twitter @middlegazette

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