NLC Constituency Groups Lobby Capitol Hill for City Priorities
This month, leaders from all five of NLC’s constituency groups travelled from cities across the United States to Washington, D.C. for NLC’s first Constituency Group Washington Day of Action. The event marked the first joint Capitol Hill visit by representatives of all five of NLC’s constituency groups:
- Asian Pacific American Municipal Officials (APAMO)
- Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Local Officials (GLBTLO)
- Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO)
- National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO)
- Women in Municipal Government (WIMG)
In addition to recording video spotlights for NLC’s first Membership Awareness Campaign, where the Constituency Group leaders touted the importance of being a member of NLC and the benefits of joining a Constituency Group, the leaders met with members of Congress and their staffs to advocate for NLC’s legislative priorities, including:
- Leveling the playing field between brick-and-mortar retailers and online sellers by passing the Marketplace Fairness Act legislation;
- Protecting the tax exemption for municipal bond interest; and
- Fixing the nation’s broken immigration system.
Together, the group of leaders met with members of the House and Senate from seven states. HELO President Oscar Trevino and Mayor of North Richland Hills Texas said: “We were welcomed by our members of Congress and Senators and they listened to our stories and perspectives at the same time. The briefings and coordination by NLC were an invaluable factor in making this a successful trip to Capitol Hill.”
APAMO President Suzanne Chan and Councilmember from Fremont California said: “We were energized by today’s meetings, and Hill staff were deeply impressed with the presentation of the collateral provided during our meetings. They did not have to take notes.”
Many of the congressional offices expressed support for NLC’s policy positions and a desire to work toward a bipartisan solution on major debates facing Congress. APAMO board member Gilbert Wong, Mayor, Cupertino, Calif., said: “This was the fourth time APAMO has done a joint constituency group fly-in, and by far, this was the best one yet with all constituency groups of NLC represented. At our meetings, Sue Chan and I thanked our members of Congress for supporting immigration reform, and urged our House members to bring legislation to a vote this year.”
HELO and WIMG board member Julia Gusse, Council Member, Maricopa, Ariz., added: “It was of great importance for our legislators to see that the NLC constituency groups are working together on national issues that concern all of our communities regardless of our individual political party.”
Following their meetings on the hill, the day concluded with a panel as a part of the NLC Membership Awareness campaign moderated by NLC Board member and NBC-LEO First Vice President Priscilla Tyson, council member, Columbus, OH. The panel featured GLBTLO First Vice President LaWana Mayfield, HELO President Oscar Trevino, APAMO President Suzanne Chan, and APAMO Board Member Gilbert Wong in a conversational setting highlighting three take home questions:
- Why their meetings on the Hill were valuable to them?
- Why it is important to advocate for their city and how they plan to continue advocating for their cities when they return home?
- Did Members of Congress listen to their voices?
All agreed the Washington Day of Action was an excellent opportunity for the various groups to share ideas and lobby on behalf of NLC.
For more information about becoming a member of NLC’s constituency groups, contact Rikka Batulan at 202.626.3062. For more information about supporting NLC’s advocacy work as a grassroots advocate in Washington or in your own city, contact Angelina Panettieri at 202.626.3196.