On February 22, 1985, Mayor Bernie Sanders presided over a New England Mayors meeting in Boston. The goal was to draft a resolution criticizing President Ronald Reagan’s proposed cuts to domestic programs and urging the U.S. Congress to reject the Reagan administration’s plan.
The Mayors’ resolution stated that “the cuts would harm ‘virtually every resident’ of their cities and towns. The resolution urged Reagan and the Congress “in the strongest possible terms, to set aside these unfair budget cut proposals and address the federal budget deficit crisis in a fair and equitable manner.”
The resolution was based on a draft originally proposed by the City of Burlington, and included sections calling for cuts in military spending and an end to tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthy. It also cites planned cuts in federally funded programs which are “urgently needed by working people, the elderly and the poor,” and pointed to proposed cuts in highway programs, revenue sharing, Urban Development Action Grants, Community Development Block Grants, small business programs, sewage construction grands, weatherization programs, tuition assistance, job training programs, housing for the elderly and low- and moderate- income people, as well as funding for police and fire protection.
Other mayors attending the meeting were: Connecticut Mayors William Collins (Norwalk), Thirman Milner (Hartford), Thom Serrani (Stamford), John J. Leone (Bristol), Biagio “Ben” DiLieto (New Haven), Edward Bergin (Waterbury); New Hampshire Mayor James Donchess (Nashua) and Robert Shaw (Manchester); Massachusetts Mayor Eugene Brune (Somerville); and John Burgess on behalf of Rhode Island Mayor Henry Kinch (Pawtucket).