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ST. LOUIS (AP) - Mayors from more than three dozen cities and towns along the Mississippi River are coming together in hopes of drawing attention - specifically the attention of federal lawmakers - to the challenges they face along the nation's largest waterway.

The inaugural meeting of the new Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative includes 41 mayors gathered in St. Louis this week. The mayors on Thursday announced plans to go to Washington next spring and discuss their agenda with lawmakers. Over the next several months they'll develop an agenda that will among other things address issues such as drinking water, waterfront development, dredging issues and floodplain management.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says uniting as one voice for the river should better serve the needs of all river communities.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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