Media Release

Community Leaders of America & Forum For Community Leaders Announce COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Program (RERP)

Led by seasoned advisory committee, effort to focus on solutions to the most intractable challenges arising from COVID-19 recovery at the local level

Springfield, VA - 

Today Community Leaders of America (CLA 527) and its affiliate organization, Forum for Community Leaders (FCL 501c4) announced the launch of the COVID-19 Response and Economic Recovery Program. The program’s mission of building relationship to surface, discuss, and strategize solutions to the most intractable challenges arising from COVID-19 recovery at the local level will be lead by an Advisory Committee comprised of current and former local, state and federal leaders, as well as private sector innovators - all with the experience and knowledge to help guide this important cause. 

Working with municipal leaders from across the country, from communities of varied sizes and locations, alongside members of the business community, the program will surface creative solutions that create a culture of predictability and sustainability in our cities and towns. These solutions will be rooted in the principles of business resiliency, regulatory modernization, process efficiency, economic accessibility, and risk management. 


The Advisory Committee is chaired by CLA Chairwoman Mayor Acquanetta Warren of Fontana, CA. Other Advisory Committee Members include:

Mayor Francis Suarez | Miami, FL

Mayor David Sander | Rancho Cordova, CA

Mayor Billy Hewes | Gulfport, MS

Joe M. Allbaugh | Former Director | Federal Emergency Management Agency

The Honorable Greg Ballard | Former Mayor | Indianapolis, IN 

Rob Engstrom | President | Wolfe Street Partners

David Javdan | Managing Director | Alvarez & Marsal

The Honorable Thomas M. Reynolds | Former U.S. Rep | NY-26-27

“The Response and Economic Recovery Program has been born out of a necessity in every community across the nation,” said Mayor Acquanetta Warren of Fontana, CA. “This advisory committee has the experience and depth of knowledge  to guide this program forward as it delivers the innovative solutions we all need.”

“This program will look at the response and economic recovery to COVID-19 from the operational, economic and scientific angles. As the only U.S. mayor who also is a Ph.D in virology, I’m fortunate to have a unique perspective on moving forward and preparing for what’s next. This is important work, I’m thrilled to be a part of this strong group of leaders,” said Rancho Cordova, CA Mayor David Sander.

“If you take the narrow view, it looks like each crisis, natural disaster, or societal disruption is an isolated event ,” said Gulfport, MS Mayor Billy Hewes. “But, when you pull back and look at events like the ones we’re facing now, you see that these types of moments happen with regularity. This program will approach its mission with the view that there will be a next time and it’s our job to ensure that when that happens our communities are equipped and ready to respond ahead of the event instead of behind it.”

“Crisis management requires communities to be connected and plans to be made prior to the next big event that impacts us all,” said former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh. “There’s no better opportunity to get together, get to know people, and get to know solutions. I’m proud to be part of this group of doers who will get things done.”

“Communication is the most important part of strong leadership in our cities. I look forward to helping guide this important program as it navigates the complexities of further strengthening our communities. We will get through this and build a stronger future together,” said former Indianapolis, IN Mayor Greg Ballard. 

“It is so important that we operationalize the response and recovery for cities and towns in a forward leaning, innovative, efficient manner,” said David Javdan, former General Counsel of the SBA, now Managing Director of turnaround/restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal. “Preparing for what’s already happened isn’t going to be the next best step. This program helps America’s communities identify and share solutions that maximize efficiency and opportunity for everyone.”

“It makes sense that identifying actionable, and practicable solutions for challenges facing our nation are found at the local level. Having served at practically every level of government - local, county, state and federal - I can tell you that a lot of the smartest governing, and best solutions have come from the local level,” said former Congressman Tom Reynolds. “This program is the right way to bring out the best from our cities, towns and their private sector partners in this effort.”

Mayor Francis Suarez is the 43rd of the City of Miami, FL.

Rob Engstrom is Founder & CEO of Wolfe Street Partners, an advocacy firm focused on advising trade associations and other strategic partners.

About Community Leaders of America (CLA):

CLA is the national caucus of Republican Mayors, City Council Members, and County Commissioners. These Republican municipal and county leaders are America’s doers. They are transforming our cities and counties for the better, driving economic growth, reinventing  government and getting results. CLA advocates for free market principles to create a sustainable business environment, common sense fiscal management, and investment in infrastructure and public safety. CLA is a tax-exempt 527 organization.

About Forum for Community Leaders (FCL):

The Forum for Community Leaders (FCL) comes alongside Republican local leaders in their constant effort to identify solutions to the emerging and evolving list of challenges facing the nation’s communities around infrastructure, energy, opportunity, environmental stewardship, and more. FCL is able to identify those challenges, and research, design, and share implementable solutions needed to make our communities stronger with CLA’s national caucus of Republican Mayors, City Council Members, and County Executives and Legislators. 

The mission of the Forum for Community Leaders (FCL) is to equip municipal leaders, and other stakeholders with the tools they need to advocate for the expansion of opportunity and prosperity through the application of common sense, sustainable market driven principles to create resilient, strong communities. 

FCL is a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) organization responsible for educating citizens, industry leaders and elected officials at all levels of government and across the country. FCL is an affiliate of the Community Leaders of America.

Learn more about Community Leaders of America and Forum for Community Leaders at Follow us on Twitter @GOPLocal.


PO Box 2262 | Springfield, VA | 22152 | 571-243-6530

Paid for by Community Leaders of America (527) and the Forum for Community Leaders (501(c)(4))

Copyright 2021