Sen. Christopher Dodd said yesterday that he will remain chairman of the Senate Banking Committee so he can play a key role in the financial crisis - "the central issue of our day" - and called for the federal government to provide assistance to state and local governments that have been hurt by the crisis.

The Connecticut Democrat made the remarks during a 30-minute press conference in which he indicated his strong support for "direct financing into municipalities," specifically through the creation of an infrastructure financing bank.

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