National League of Cities Elects Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker as 2015 President
Austin, Texas - Salt Lake City, Utah Mayor Ralph Becker was today named president of the National League of Cities (NLC) at the organization's annual Congress of Cities and Exposition in Austin, Texas. NLC is the nation's largest and most representative membership and advocacy organization for city officials.
Mayor Becker, who served as NLC's First Vice President in 2014, was elected by the membership to lead the organization for a one-year term and will play a key role in shaping NLC's priorities and directing the organization's advocacy, education, research and membership activities.
"It is in our municipalities and communities where real innovation, real action and real decisions are being made," said Mayor Becker. He continued, "We are driving not just our local and regional economies, but we are driving progress in our country overall. NLC is at the forefront of that discussion, and I am honored to become president of the National League of Cities."
As part of his inaugural address to the NLC membership, Mayor Becker announced that this year would be "The Year of Connecting." The Mayor outlined that a major job component for city leaders needs to be connecting their communities to resources, ideas and talent to achieve their aspirations.
The Mayor outlined three specific points of connection he would like the membership to make:
- First, connecting cities to the federal government through NLC's federal advocacy work.
- Second, connecting communities to new resources - financial, political, intellectual and many more.
- Third - as a former National Park Service employee and as Mayor of one of the world's great outdoor cities - connecting kids to nature and the outdoors to reverse a trend known as Nature Deficit Disorder.
The Mayor also called on the NLC membership to become "an army of advocates" on three federal priorities:
- Climate Change - working with the Federal Government on how they can reshape their organization and actions to assist state, local and tribal work on this critical issue.
- Marketplace Fairness - local businesses have been at a disadvantage when competing against remote sellers, and every city receiving sales taxes has suffered financially from the NON-collection of sales taxes on remote sales.
- GROW America Act - provides local governments with stable federal funding to plan and construct transportation projects that address our current mobility needs.
Mayor Becker has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master's in Planning and a JD from the University of Utah.
Mayor Becker served as the Utah State Planning Coordinator under Governor Scott Matheson and then went on to launch his own Salt Lake City based consulting firm, Bear West, specializing in community planning, environmental assessment, public lands use and public involvement before acting on his long-held desire to serve the public.
Elected to the Utah State Legislature in 1996, Mayor Becker was a member of the House of Representatives for 11 years serving in legislative leadership positions for most of that tenure, including five years as House Minority Leader.
In 2008, the Mayor was elected to the office of Mayor of Salt Lake City. In his first term, Mayor Becker greatly expanded transportation options for the City's residents and visitors, with a special focus on public transit, trails and bikeways. He also championed the state's first municipal protections in the areas of employment and housing for the City's LGBT community - an effort that has since been replicated by Salt Lake County and over a dozen local governments throughout Utah. Under Mayor Becker's leadership, the city government has become much more transparent, and new opportunities have been created for residents to engage and participate in the decision making process.
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.