State of the Union Provides 3 Takeaways for Local Leaders


  • Irma Esparza Diggs
February 8, 2023 - (3 min read)

Last night, President Biden gave his State of the Union address and addressed a broad range of issues important to cities, towns and villages across the country. Here are three takeaways local leaders should know from the 2023 State of the Union. 

1. Infrastructure moves forward.  

In his speech, President Biden celebrated the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This legislation was a bipartisan success, with members of Congress joining across the aisle to deliver investments in infrastructure across the country. 

Local leaders are already using funds from this legislation to strengthen infrastructure in communities across the country. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced more than 500 local governments won awards in the first round of new Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) grants to improve road safety and reduce traffic fatalities.    

2. Public safety remains a top priority. 

A key theme of President Biden’s speech was working to make communities safer, as he discussed recent mass shootings and incidents of police brutality. Public safety is a key issue for local leaders, and many have seen firsthand how violence can tear apart communities.  

In 2021, NLC launched the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, to bring together local leaders to reimagine how they ensure public safety in their communities. The Task Force released two reports to support local action to transform local public safety, A Path Towards Safe and Equitable Cities and Reimagining Public Safety, a Toolkit for Cities and towns. 

“We will continue to partner with the Biden Administration and Congress to support local action to transform public safety.”– NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence E. Anthony

3. Look to the audience for evidence of the federal-local partnership.  

Members of Congress can invite guests to attend the State of the Union with them. This year, invites were extended to several local leaders. 

Mayor Vi Lyles of Charlotte, North Carolina, attended as a guest of Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-NC-12). Congresswoman Adams showcased how Mayor Lyles has led local recovery efforts and provided a clear framework to use American Rescue Plan Act funds in a way that addresses historic disparities in the community. 

Rochester Mayor Kim Norton attended as a guest of Congressman Brad Finstad (R-MN-1). In an interview with ABC 6 News, Mayor Norton emphasized that city government often collaborates with Congress to get work done. 

These invites showcase the value and impact of the federal-local partnership. Members of Congress understand local leaders are an important partner when it comes to getting work done, as evidenced by recent investments through the American Rescue Plan Act, Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. 

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About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs

About the Author

Irma Esparza Diggs is the Senior Executive and Director, Federal Advocacy at the National League of Cities.