Frequently Asked Questions

When will program information be available?
Program development, workshop selection and speaker confirmations for NLC's March, Congressional City Conference takes place from January thru early-March. This ensures that topics covered during the policy conference are timely and reflect the current state of affairs in federal policy.

Topics areas for the to be covered in workshops are local innovation, job creation and training, transportation and infrastructure, civic engagement, housing, public safety and meeting the needs of families.

Workshop titles and descriptions are available on the Agenda section of the conference website by mid-to late February with speakers added as their information becomes available.

General session speakers are confirmed in January and February. Because many of the speakers are members of the Cabinet or Congress, they may be unable to confirm their attendance until a week or two before the conference. NLC's scheduling flexibility with such high-level speakers ensures that conference attendees will hear from the key players on Capitol Hill.

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How do I explain to my fellow council members why it is important that I attend the Congressional City Conference?
Delegates to the Congressional City Conference have high expectations of the conference. But, the conference lives up to those expectations say returning registrants.

"(NLC does) a great service by bringing everyone together," says Ricci Bandkau, Mayor, Brighton, Mich. about the 2010 conference. "It is exciting to go with people who have the same challenges and are seeking creative solutions. This is a non-partisan gathering-all we (attendees) are trying to do is make things better for our businesses and our citizens."

When local citizens vote for a local elected official, they vote for someone to direct municipal activities, oversee the city budget, vote on local tax initiatives, and to competently represent the city to other levels of government and to potential business interests.

Why is this last skill important? Representing their city to other officials and in important discussions that impact local funding opportunities is, in fact, one of the most critical responsibilities of local officials and appointed staff. Local elected officials are the voices and faces of municipalities on Capitol Hill, in state houses and to federal and state administrative officials. Knowing how and where to step into the federal policy and regulatory making process, for example, is critical to ensuring that their constituents are not unduly burdened by federal laws or left out of critical benefits.

Those making the trek to Washington, DC this March had to make a strong case to use their city money to attend. But, they do because they have a real purpose in coming. It is the type of people who make this investment in difficult times that makes being at the conference so valuable, registrants said.

The NLC's annual Congressional City Conference provides effective strategies that enable local leaders to have the most impact on critical legislative and regulatory issues. Especially in this economy where every dollar counts, it is imperative that local leaders make every effort to ensure that their constituents are not forgotten when key discussions about funding, laws and regulations that impact local jurisdictions are occurring at the state and federal levels.

While this is a responsibility that ideally happens year round through a variety of venues, it is especially important to take advantage of opportunities at which a critical mass of local representatives is on the Hill. In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to stay tuned in to the people that understand what is happening and what IS going to happen in cities. These are just the type of people that attend the 2010 Congressional City Conference, say conference registrants.

As a 2010 registrant, Ted Jennings, Mayor of the City of Brewton, Alabama said: "A lot of people go to conventions and meetings, and they are there in attendance only. When they walk away, it is like they have never been. But, the people going to this meeting are the doers; they are going for a purpose. When you attend (the conference), you will be there with the people that are the doers-the ones that make things happen-and I wouldn't miss that for anything."

Greg Pettis, Council Member of the City of Cathedral City, Calif. has a strong conviction that his city will take home real solutions. A regular attendee at the Congressional City Conference, Pettis said his delegation has brought home successful programs such as literacy and recreation projects from other cities across the country that they learned about by talking to other attendees.

Based on his experience attending conferences, Pettis said his city doesn't get this type of networking at any other event.

NLC understands that you are watching every dollar, but it is important for your constituents to know that you are doing your job when you attend the NLC Congressional Cities Conference. You are making sure their voices are being heard, their concerns are being addressed and their needs are being met.

Councilwoman Janna Garrison of the City of Southfield, Mich. wanted to ensure that the city she represents has a voice at the federal level, a voice that speaks clearly about the challenges facing Southfield.

E-mails and letters that are personalized can have an impact, and they are a great year-round way to keep in touch with staff members that you meet in Washington, DC or at your local district office. But, building a relationship often is easier with someone you've met in-person.

It's also important to note that there is a reason so many policy conferences are held in February and March. The Congressional City Conference is held each March because that is when Congress has begun to find its sea legs in the new year. Major legislation is well underway and the next budget is under discussion. It is an important time for constituents to influence the direction of discussions and the development of new legislation and the appropriation of federal funds.

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What does a spouse/guest registration fee include? How do I register someone as a spouse/guest?
At the Congressional City Conference, a spouse/guest registration entitles a spouse or guest to attend workshops, general sessions, the Capitol Steps performance and receptions. It does not include the delegates' roundtable lunches on Monday and Tuesday or the Celebrate Diversity breakfast on Monday.

You can select a spouse/guest registration as an additional option when registering a regular attendee.

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Can students attend the conference?
Yes. National League of Cities welcomes future public servants at the Congressional City Conference and the Congress of Cities and Exposition. To encourage future public officials and administrators to attend, NLC offers a student rate of $125, for students age 18 and above, which is a savings of more than $500 off the regular non-member rate. Academicians who wish to accompany their students can take advantage of the first-time attendee rate of $350, a savings of more than $300. Please forward this information to local universities in your community.

High school students age 15 to 18 can attend the conference as a youth delegate as representatives of their city's youth council. Youth delegates must be accompanied by a designated chaperone. The cost is $100 per youth delegate and $100 for a chaperone. Special programming that focuses on youth-related policy and governance issues as well as opportunities to network with other youth and local elected officials are also provided.

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How do I reserve a hotel room at the conference rate?
Housing opens when registration opens. You must be registered for the conference to reserve a hotel room. Hotel selection options appear in the online registration process after all conference registration items have been made. Housing options are also listed on the printed registration form.

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What is the cancellation policy for conferences?
All conferences have cancellation policies that are provided on both printed registration forms and the online registration website.

Rather than cancel, cities can elect to substitute a different city representative or staff member for a registrant unable to attend. The city need only contact the registration and housing center to make the change.

Cancellation policies generally include:

  • All cancellation requests must be received in writing, postmarked by a specific date, usually three to four weeks out from the conference's opening date.
  • All cancellations are subject to a $100 cancellation fee.
  • No partial refunds will be made if you decide not to attend a particular function.
  • No registrations or cancellations will be accepted by telephone.
  • Spouse/Guest fees are nonrefundable.

For questions about cancellations, hotel reservations, receipts, adding events, etc.

Phone: 888-319-3864 or 703-449-6418


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What are the future dates and locations of the Congressional City Conference?
All Congressional City Conferences listed below will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC.

  • 2013 - March 9-13
  • 2014 - March 8-12

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