Now Is the Time for City Leaders to Engage with NLC

March 12, 2017 - (5 min read)

With the recent potential for cuts to funding for cities, getting involved with NLC’s constituency groups, committees and councils gives city leaders an edge when it comes to knowing the best practices – and the right people – they need to get the job done for their constituents.

NLC’s constituency groups, committees and councils are currently meeting in Washington, D.C. at the 2017 Congressional City Conference. (Getty Images)

This is the second post in a series highlighting NLC’s 2017 Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C., March 11-15.

NLC membership offers extensive networking and professional development opportunities. With the recent potential for cuts to funding for cities, getting involved with NLC’s constituency groups, committees and councils can give city leaders the edge they need when it comes to knowing the best practices – and the right people – to help get the job done for their constituents.

Our constituency groups, committees and councils have been established over the years to reflect the diverse interests and backgrounds of NLC’s membership, and they work collaboratively with NLC to contribute to leadership development, policy formulation, advocacy, and program activities. Constituency groups are caucuses within NLC membership that share common interests and concerns, and they also contribute to NLC’s leadership development, policy programs and more. Our seven federal advocacy committees cover policy areas ranging from economic development and technical policy to energy and the environment. Finally, NLC councils reflect the different types of communities our members represent, from suburbs, college towns and military communities to large cities.

At the 2017 Congressional City Conference, we reached out to NLC members and delegates to find out how participation in NLC’s various member groups has added to their arsenal of skills as city leaders.

Federal Advocacy Committee – Information Technology and Communication (ITC)

“My participation in NLC’s Information Technology and Communication federal advocacy committee is honestly my favorite part of being a NLC member. I’ve worked with public, educational and government access television for most of my career, so I’ve always been interested in telecom policy. I’d always read trade magazines about the industry and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and now I have the opportunity to serve as the chair for a committee that takes me to the FCC and Capitol Hill to discuss issues I’m passionate about with the leaders in this field.

ITC and other federal advocacy committees allow you to pursue your interests and advocate for real change. I would encourage any NLC member looking to get involved to check out NLC’s advocacy committees. Find that industry or policy area that fascinates you, and join a corresponding committee. For me, ITC covers such a broad swath of topics that anyone is bound to find our meetings interesting, and technology is only becoming a bigger part of life in all cities.”

-Mesa, Arizona, Vice Mayor David Luna

NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF) Council

“The city of Caldwell has greatly benefited from our association with the YEF Council and Institute over the past twenty years that I have served as mayor. We have learned strategies to assist us in creating, partnering, and implementing many of the programs and policies adopted by our city council to promote youth and families within our community as well the mentoring element for our youth who attend annual YEF functions.

Some of the programs and steps we’ve initiated in Caldwell from information and encouragement received from the YEF Council include:

  • Creation of the first Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council (MYAC) in Idaho
  • Adoption of the City Platform for Youth and Families by the Caldwell city council
  • Partnerships created with local school districts and nonprofits to develop a third grade swimming program, mentoring programs, preschool programs and out-of-school programs
  • Creation and adoption of a Youth Master Plan
  • Development of youth programs to include the Caldwell Youth Forum and Let’s Move! Caldwell
  • Development of a college savings program, Caldwell Saves 1st

In turn, we’ve promoted the same principles we have gained from our involvement in the YEF Council to other cities in Idaho and beyond. We have done this because we believe that every child matters. Because of our passion for youth and families, we’ve seen a dramatic improvement in civility, community partnerships, graduation rates, reading skills, crime rates and youth engagement. We are truly appreciative of the solid guiding principles that have been offered by the YEF Council and YEF Institute over the years.”

-Caldwell, Idaho, Mayor Garret Nancolas

Young Elected Leaders Network

“As we continue to see history being made every year with the election of very young government officials, it’s important that we have an outlet in the midst of the organized chaos we call legislating. The Young Elected Leaders (YEL) Network has done an outstanding job of educating young leaders – and now NLC is doing its part to carve out a special place to connect seasoned leaders with those who are just beginning their journey.

I think, in some ways, the current generation of elected officials has been slow to share knowledge, and too sluggish to pass the baton on to future generations of passionate local leaders. I’m excited because our participation in NLC’s Young Elected Leaders Network is an opportunity for NLC to help guide young leaders out of our silos and onto a path filled with the resources and meaningful engagement only NLC can provide.”

-East Point Councilmember Alex Gothard

City officials who participate in these NLC member groups bring their voices and perspectives to the table to develop policy and advocate at the federal level on the issues that matter most to cities. To take your involvement in local government to the next level, join a constituency group, committee or council today.

Paul Konz headshotAbout the Author: Paul Konz is the Senior Editor at the National League of Cities.