Bringing Local Views to a Federal Advisory Committee


  • Brittney D. Kohler
January 9, 2024 - (5 min read)

Local government leaders often have an opportunity to serve on committees and advisory boards at home—like the local transit agency or the metropolitan planning board. These advisory roles can be excellent ways to uplift your community’s perspective and work to create regional change. Similarly, appointed roles exist at the federal level, and the National League of Cities (NLC) works to ensure that local leader voices are included in federal advisory committees.

Federal advisory board roles give local government leaders who have deep expertise or substantial community interest in a certain topic, like aviation noise or electric vehicle integration, a national role in guiding federal policy. Individuals who are nominated represent their community and serve as the voice for every local government, as they may be the only local leader selected among state leaders, industry experts or researchers.

City of Aurora, CO, on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) NextGen Advisory Committee

The City of Aurora, CO, spans more than 164 square miles, so it is no surprise that the community experiences impacts from five area airports. While the city has taken actions locally like set up protective zoning regulations for new development and redevelopment projects to assure that land uses are compatible with airport operations, they have actively sought to be heard at the federal level where most aviation policy matters are determined. Former Councilmember Brad Pierce was nominated due to his work as a leader of the Centennial Airport (Colorado) Community Noise Roundtable, the National Organization to Insure a Sound-Controlled Environment (N.O.I.S.E.), and NLC’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy Committee.

Former Councilmember Pierce was nominated to serve and appointed by the Secretary of Transportation to serve on the FAA NextGen Advisory Committee (NAC). The (NAC) has about 30 members who represent various segments of the aviation industry (e.g. airlines, airports, Department of Defense, labor, aircraft manufacturers, NASA and air traffic control), but only one seat is reserved for local government environmental interests. The objective of the NAC is to provide independent advice and recommendations to the Federal FAA and to respond to specific taskings received directly from FAA. In his work, Pierce led a NAC sub-committee to identify best practices regarding how the NAC can encourage aviation industry participation into the FAA’s community engagement structure.

Pierce had a long history of involvement with aviation noise and environmental issues that prepared him to take on this role on the NAC, and while federal progress on aviation noise issues continues to today in the current FAA bill the Senate is debating, he encourages local municipal elected officials from across the nation to become involved with Federal Advisory Committees as they are an excellent opportunity to provide input on federal policy affecting cites. He felt he was making a difference in developing federal policy affecting cities, and he remains engaged on the NAC today.

City of Mesa, AZ, Appointed to National Electric Vehicle Working Group

The Joint Office of Energy and Transportation recently announced that Mesa Mayor John Giles was the only mayor and elected official appointed to the federal committee charged with guiding the widespread adoption of electric vehicles across the country. The Electric Vehicle Working Group (EVWG), a collection of 23 EV industry, automotive, policy experts and leaders who will make recommendations directly to the Secretaries of Energy and Transportation. The EVWG will focus on facilitating the adoption of electric vehicles among low- and moderate-income individuals and underserved communities, assessing the costs of vehicle and EV battery manufacturing, and addressing grid capacity and integration.

Vehicle electrification not only reduces our impact on the environment, but it also lessens costs in city government and creates high-tech and high-wage jobs. I’m proud of the steps Mesa and Arizona have already taken to embrace EVs, and I look forward to furthering that work as a member of the Electric Vehicle Working Group.

Mesa, AZ Mayor John Giles

City of Colorado Springs Serves on the Wildland Fire Leadership Council

Mayor Yemi Mobolade, Colorado Springs, CO, serves as NLC’s representative to the Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC), an intergovernmental committee convened by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Defense, and Homeland Security, that is dedicated to the consistent implementation of wildland fire policies, goals, and management activities across Federal, state, tribal, county, and municipal government levels. The Council provides strategic recommendations for policy coordination, accountability, and effective implementation of Federal wildland fire management policy, fostering a collaborative environment for efficient wildfire management, promoting fire-adapted communities, and creating resilient landscapes for the long-term benefits of society and nature.

Share Your Expertise and Advocacy Nationally

The National League of Cities welcomes new leaders each year to our Federal Advocacy Committees which focus on the key areas of federal policy that impact cities. When new Federal Advisory Committees are formed, NLC looks to the leadership on our rosters for potential nominees to actively support candidates. City leaders with critical science, technology and technical knowledge can be excellent candidates to bring together their skill sets in Federal Advisory Committee roles. Additionally, communities that are unique or distinctly impacted by a federal policy, like Auora with airport noise, can bring much needed information about the reality of federal programs locally. If you have any questions or if you serve on an Advisory Committee today, we encourage you to reach out to us at

About the Author

Brittney D. Kohler

About the Author

Brittney Kohler is the Legislative Director of Transportation and Infrastructure at the National League of Cities.