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White House invites Miami-Dade mayor to climate-change summit


Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is getting more White House love.

Gimenez has been invited -- and plans to attend -- the inaugural U.S.-China Climate Leaders Summit in two weeks in Los Angeles.

The summit is part of a U.S.-China effort to cooperate on curbing global warming and promoting clean energy, and will give the two countries something to boast about when Chinese President Xi Jinping travels to Washington the following week for a state visit.

Mayors of cities in the U.S. and China -- 12 from each country, according to Gimenez's office -- were invited to share ideas and perhaps leave the two-day summit with some sort of commitment or "action statement."

"Mayor Gimenez looks forward to sharing Miami-Dade County's work to mitigate the effects of sea-level rise with fellow mayors from throughout the U.S. and China and learning from them," Gimenez spokesman Michael Hernández said in a statement. "Miami-Dade is in a unique location and position to be at the forefront on the issue."

As it happens, Gimenez was getting criticized during the county's first budget hearing Thursday by residents worried that planning sea-level rise -- the top climate-change consequence for Miami-Dade -- was getting short shrift in the mayor's proposed spending plan. His office said he spoke to residents outside the County Hall chambers to try to reassure them.

This is the second time in two months that the White House has reached out to Gimenez, a Republican in a non-partisan post. He was the featured guest on a conference all last month celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act. Gimenez spoke about Miami-Dade's efforts to make voting easier after a slew of embarrassing problems at the 2012 polls.

--with Douglas Hanks