Advocating for America's Cities & Towns

The National League of Cities offers the following tips and tools for advocacy both in Washington and at home, critical to strengthening the partnership between municipalities and the federal government.

As a local leader, your voice matters a great deal to members of Congress. You represent a large number of their constituents and provide a vital link for federal legislators stay connected to what goes on in your city. This allows you to play a powerful role in influencing the outcomes of issues at the national level that matter to your community. 

The National League of Cities offers plenty of resources to help you with your advocacy efforts both at home and in Washington. Together, we can influence the outcomes of federal policy to make sure the interests of our cities are protected.

TAKE ACTION NOW! Advocate for city transportation priorities during the 2014 congressional August recess using NLC's Transportation Funding Advocacy Toolkit.

Why Should You Advocate?

When local officials become involved in the legislative process and share their expertise and experiences with members of Congress and the Administration, cities and towns collectively have a stronger voice.

Working alongside the 49 state municipal leagues, NLC serves as the voice of America's cities and towns in Washington - building relationships, crafting advocacy strategies, and influencing federal action that affects cities and towns. Your own voice also matters a great deal to legislators. In fact, according to research by the Congressional Management Foundation, members of Congress cited direct personal contact from local elected officials like you as one of the advocacy tactics most likely to influence their decision on an issue.

It is for this reason that we need you to take action on the issues that matter to your city. Advocacy can take many forms, from meeting with your member of Congress to writing a letter about the issues that is important to you. Whether you are visiting Capitol Hill in Washington or advocating for your city from home, you can make a difference.

NLC Advocates in Action

Local Leaders Urge Congress to Preserve Transportation Alternatives Program 

Almost 400 local officials joined together in June 2014 to urge Congress to continue funding the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), which allocates resources for transportation alternatives that enhance the safety and performance of the nation's highways and street networks, in a joint letter to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Mayors to Meet with Senate to Talk Education Reform

NLC President Chris Coleman, mayor of Saint Paul, MN, as well as Mayors Betsy Price of Fort Worth, TX and Edna Jackson of Savannah, GA spoke before Senate staffers in a June 2014 briefing with Sen. Al Franken (MN) about their cities' efforts to improve education, and the impact of national education policy.

NLC Constituency Groups Lobby Capitol Hill for NLC Priorities

In May 2014, leaders from NLC's constituency groups traveled from cities across the United States to Washington, D.C. for NLC's first Constituency Group Washington Day of Action. The event marked the first joint Capitol Hill visit by representatives of all five of NLC's constituency groups.

City Leaders Urge Congress to Pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform

NLC's officers and over 150 other local leaders sent a joint letter to Congress in April 2014, urging action on comprehensive immigration reform.

City Leaders Take City Priorities to the White House

During the March 2014 Congressional City Conference, a group of city leaders visited the White House to meet with Administration officials and discuss federal action priorities for cities.

NLC and Florida League of Cities Urge Congress to Delay Flood Insurance Premium Increase

In February 2014, Florida city leaders visited Washington and met with legislators and federal officials to successfully advocate for a delay in disruptive flood insurance rate increases. 

Have you or your city taken action to advocate for city priorities? Send detailed information and photos (if available) to advocacy@nlc.org to be featured on our website or in publications.

NLC Resources

NLC is here to help you with your advocacy efforts. We have many resources for you to use as part of your advocacy work:

NLC Advocacy Network

NLC is always working to strengthen our partnership with city leaders. Our Advocacy Network is made up of city leaders who are interested in federal advocacy and would like to be involved in NLC's advocacy efforts. Sign up for NLC's network of city advocates now.