A Big Week for Federal Advocacy

February 7, 2020

The first week of February ushered in strong federal advocacy efforts by our member cities, towns and villages and reaffirmed National League of Cities’ commitment to federal-local partnership.

On Tuesday, February 4, National League of Cities (NLC) hosted a briefing for the San Antonio delegation which included Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Councilmember Rebecca Viagran, Councilmember Manny Pelaez, Councilmember Ana Sandoval, Councilmember Melissa Cabell-Havrda and Councilmember Shirley Gonzales.

As one of the first-round adopters of the Leading Together resolution, the discussion focused on how federal-local partnership could facilitate sustainable infrastructure projects that strengthened the local workforce, redirect critical transportation funding, help reduce gun violence and end housing instability.

NLC also hosted the Road to Zero coalition which featured member cities and their work to keep every resident safe on their roads. New York City, San Antonio, and Cleveland discussed their efforts around Vision Zero and how additional federal support could improve this infrastructure priority.

On Wednesday, February 5, more than 40 executive directors and local leaders from 18 state municipal leagues across the country traveled to Washington, D.C., for NLC’s fourth annual state municipal league fly-in.

In meetings and a testimony, state municipal league partners and NLC staff advocated for our top legislative priorities, including critical infrastructure investment with an emphasis workforce development, broadband expansion, improving housing stability and sustainable programs that preserve the environment. Together we ensured that federal decision-makers heard loud and clear that local leaders are ready to build local-federal partnerships that will help to move America forward.

The fly-in began on Wednesday, February 5, with a briefing hosted by NLC’s Federal Advocacy staff. Speakers provided state municipal league executive directors and local leaders with an update on the current political dynamics in Washington, D.C., as well as substantive updates on NLC’s 2020 federal legislative priorities.

NLC Second Vice President Vince Williams, Mayor, Union City, Georgia, and NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony welcomed attendees to NLC’s offices and spoke about the importance of advocating for cities during this crucial time in Washington. The briefing also included a discussion around federal-local partnership and State Leadership Days, led by White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Doug Hoelscher and Deputy Director, William Crozer. This discussion involved relevant top line priorities for cities mentioned in the State of the Union the evening before, including Opportunity Zones and workforce skills development.

Earlier that day, Mayor Daniel Corona, West Wendover, NV and President of the Nevada League of Cities shared his testimony with the U.S. House Committee of Appropriations, Subcommittee on Strengthening Community Recycling Programs. His testimony highlighted local challenges and innovative solutions to reimagine our recycling systems.

On Thursday, the state league leaders descended on Capitol Hill for a day of action to advocate for city priorities. In meetings with Members of Congress and congressional staff, the attendees presented NLC’s updated guiding principles for rebuilding and reimagining America’s infrastructure and what cities need in a sustainable infrastructure plan.

In their time on the Hill, they met with more than 45 congressional offices across 18 states.

The day of action was preceded by a reception on the Hill celebrating federal advocacy on the eve of meetings. Representative Greg Stanton hosted NLC’s Reception on Honoring Former Municipal Leaders. This event was attended by former municipal leaders Representative Norma Torres, Representative Brenda Lawrence, Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee, Representative Lois Frankel, Representative Alan Lowenthal and Representative Ben McAdams. The reception also included a special appearance by Representative Peter DeFazio who emphasized the importance and continued commitment of federal-local partnership on infrastructure.