National League of Cities Issues Call to Republican Presidential Candidates to Talk City Issues During First Debate

Press Release
Press Release

WASHINGTON—On the eve to the first Republican presidential debate, the National League of Cities (NLC) sent a letter to participating candidates calling on them to discuss the top issues that are at the forefront of concern to cities: the economy, infrastructure and public safety.

"A meaningful presidential debate should include a discussion of the issues that cities face and how each candidate plans to address them," said National League of Cities CEO Clarence E. Anthony. "We look forward to being a resource to all of the candidates throughout their campaigns."

The following are excerpts from letter on why these issues matter to cities:

The Economy: Over the past century, cities have become the engine of our nation's economic and cultural might. They are home to businesses of all sizes, from mom-and-pop shops and restaurants to the nation's largest and most revered employers. Local governments nationwide employ over 10 million people, contributing to the safety and well-being of our communities. Cities are undoubtedly the main drivers of the U.S. economy, the single most important issue to Americans according to Gallup. In order for our nation to be competitive in the 21st Century economy, cities play an essential role, but they are dealing with enormous challenges. We hope to hear how the candidates will support the development of a modern workforce and a healthy environment for entrepreneurship.

Our Nation's Infrastructure: Municipal governments play a critical role in the development and maintenance of our country's infrastructure, owning and operating 78 percent of the nation's roads, 43 percent of the nation's federal-aid highway miles and 50 percent of the nation's bridge inventory. Cities are faced with an outdated and inadequate infrastructure. Over two hundred million trips are taken daily across deficient bridges, threatening the safety of our residents and the movement of goods throughout the country. We look forward to the candidates' proposals to strengthen and modernize America's infrastructure to meet the needs for a new century of economic activity.

Public Safety: Recent incidents have demonstrated the need for an increased national focus on community policing to build trust between public safety officers and the communities they serve. Partnerships between cities and the federal government have proven to be effective to lower crime; however, more is needed to strengthen policing in cities. We ask the presidential candidates to address their plans to invest in community policing and make our streets safer for all our cities' residents.

Last month, NLC released the 2015 State of the Cities report that analyzed trends based on annual "state of the city" addresses mayors deliver to their cities across the country. The analysis found that economic development was the most commonly addressed topic in mayoral speeches (75 percent), followed by infrastructure (57 percent) and public safety (55 percent). For more information on the report, click here.

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.

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