In Final State of the Union, President Obama Supports City Priorities

WASHINGTON—In his final State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a number of policies, successes and challenges over his two terms in office that affect cities and their residents. In a year where both President Obama and Vice President Biden spoke to city leaders at National League of Cities (NLC) convenings about forming partnerships to achieve results, cities have successfully advocated for priorities that support America's infrastructure, improve public safety and strengthen the economy. As the Administration enters its final year, NLC and its members will continue to partner with all levels of government to improve life for our residents and build better communities.

"The resilience and success of America starts at home. Every day, city leaders are called on to act on issues that matter most to their citizens: public safety, infrastructure and the economy," said National League of Cities President Melodee Colbert-Kean, councilmember and former mayor, Joplin, Mo. "Tonight in his State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a number of policies that are important to cities, from eradicating veteran homelessness to supporting the innovation that drives our economy. In the president's final year, cities urge the Administration and Congress to work together to support city priorities."

Last month, after years of persistent advocacy by NLC and its members, Congress passed the first long-term transportation bill in a decade. The bill restored certainty to a national surface transportation program that has been strung along by more than 35 stopgap extensions, and includes provisions that provide local decision-makers with greater access to federal transportation dollars. As we look toward our transportation future, cities call on the Administration to act as a champion for tax-exempt municipal bonds, the primary financing mechanism for state and local infrastructure projects.

Public Safety
Last week, President Obama issued executive actions to reduce gun violence, including expanding background checks for gun purchases. NLC has been a longstanding advocate of making cities safer by calling on federal policymakers to require background checks for every gun purchaser, regardless of where the gun is purchased. NLC supports the goals of President Obama's actions to expand gun background checks and enforcement to make communities safer from gun violence.

Cities are the engine of our nation's economy, and cities work best when the economy works for everyone. All levels of government must work together to cultivate a skilled workforce to meet 21st century employer needs. The economic competitiveness and long-term success of our cities is directly tied to the quality and skills of the workforce. Cities applaud President Obama's support of workforce development and training programs that provide basic skills training that enable residents to compete in a changing job market.

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.