Former Youngstown mayor Jay Williams discusses his new role in t - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Former Youngstown mayor Jay Williams discusses his new role in the Obama Administration

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

While serving as the mayor of Youngstown in 2011, Jay Williams received a call from the White House asking him to serve as the nation's auto czar.

And, when the President calls with a job offer, you pretty much take it.

But, Jay Williams said it wasn't that easy leaving the mayor's office in 2011.

Now three years later, Williams uses his Youngstown experience to help economically distressed cities all over America.

"In terms of policy decisions, representing the agency and the department of commerce and the administration, I have the opportunity to travel across the country. Literally every segment of the country to engage stakeholders, to participate in events that are all about trying to create more robust economic environment," said Williams, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

The EDA tries to create an environment in cities that will attract private businesses to create jobs there. It's done through financial investments or through technical assistance.

Williams saw the EDA come to Youngstown and do just that 15 years ago with the business incubator, "A few years ago, when Youngstown was named one of the top 10 areas to start a business, it was largely because of the activities surrounding the business incubator. So, the EDA makes those type of investments."

Williams' office is in the Department of Commerce and from his desk he has views of the Washington monument, the WWII memorial and part of the White House, but there's not a day that goes by that he doesn't think about where he's from.

"I tell people Washington is where I work, but Youngstown is where I am from. The vast majority of my experience and perspective has been spent walking in their shoes. I know what's it's like being in a community that is economically distressed, a community that has a lot of great assets and great people, but just needs some direction, some assistance, and that's what the EDA is about," said Williams.

He's not sure where life will take him after his appointment in the EDA ends in the next 2 and a half years. It'll be something he'll have to discuss with his family but he hopes, whatever that may be it's something that will allow him to continue to work with communities to make them a better place.

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