Each episode of NLC’s new podcast, CitiesSpeak with Clarence Anthony, dives into a critical issue facing local leaders today, featuring conversations with elected leaders and policy experts from across the country. The podcast is a relaxed and entertaining resource for local policymakers looking for ideas and information to bring back to their communities. The podcast is hosted by NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony, who previously served as mayor of South Bay, Florida for two decades. 

New, 30-minute episodes of CitiesSpeak are available monthly on all major podcasting platforms. If you have feedback for the show or ideas for future guests, email us at citiesspeakpodcast@nlc.org. Happy listening!

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About the Host

Clarence E. Anthony is CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC), the largest and oldest organization representing America’s cities, towns and villages and their leaders. Under his leadership, NLC delivered billions of dollars in direct, flexible federal relief through the CARES Act and historic American Rescue Plan Act to help support local governments respond, recover and rebuild from the COVID-19 pandemic. During his leadership, NLC also ushered passage of the Infrastructure Invest and Jobs Act, delivering transformative investments in transportation, broadband and water to communities across the country. Today, NLC continues to advance policies that strengthen local leadership and provides support for local leaders to promote equitable public health and safety, economic development and sustainability for all residents. Read more.

All Episodes

May 9, 2024

The History and Future of the National League of Cities with Secretary Henry Cisneros

Recorded live at NLC’s Congressional City Conference, Clarence Anthony sits down with Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NLC President and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Leaders like Secretary Cisneros have shaped NLC, and he provides insights into the history and future of NLC.


April 18, 2024

Bipartisan Leadership in Congress with U.S. Representatives Don Bacon and Salud Carbajal

In this episode, recorded live at NLC’s Congressional City Conference, U.S. Representative Don Bacon (R-NE) and U.S. Representative Salud Carbajal (D-CA), both members of the Problem-Solvers Caucus, discuss the benefits of listening and working with members from across the political aisle to address our nation’s most pressing challenges. The conversation was moderated by Irma Esparza Diggs, NLC’s Senior Executive Director for Federal Advocacy.


March 7, 2024

Combatting Hate & Extremism in our Communities with Bill Braniff

In this episode, Clarence sits down for a conversation with Bill Braniff, Director of the Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, about growing hate and extremism in America’s cities. They discuss how local leaders can work with the federal government to put an end to this trend – both in immediately responding to violent and hate-fueled incidents, and in preventing them from ever happening in the first place.


February 8, 2024

Reimagining City Infrastructure with Dearborn Mayor Abdullah Hammoud

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Mayor Abdullah Hammoud from Dearborn, Michigan to talk about the city’s approach to revamping and reimagining its network of roads and streets using the nearly $25 million it recently received in federal infrastructure funds. They discuss the infrastructure challenges that Dearborn has been facing for decades, and how NLC’s Local Infrastructure Hub helped the city put together a successful federal grant application that will transform its community.


January 4, 2024

Taking Risks to Build Better Cities with Rancho Cordova Mayor David Sander

In this episode, Clarence sits down with David Sander, Mayor of Rancho Cordova, California and our new National League of Cities President. They discuss his experience building the City of Rancho Cordova from the ground up over the last two decades, why it’s so important for local leaders to take big risks, and why he views cities as “laboratories of democracy.”

December 7, 2023

Reimagining Community Safety – LIVE with Erica Atwood, Anne Marks, Ganesha Martin & Wilford Pinkney

In this live episode recorded at NLC’s City Summit 2023 in Atlanta, Clarence sits down with a panel of four experts who are focused on examining public safety in our cities and creating innovative communityviolence interventions that make our systems more just, fair, and effective. This month’s guests include:

  • Erica Atwood, Deputy Managing Director, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Anne Marks, Consultant & Former Executive Director of Youth ALIVE!
  • Ganesha Martin, Founder of Let’s Meet in the Middle & Former Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Baltimore Police Department
  • Wilford Pinkney, Director of the Office of Violence Prevention, St. Louis, Missouri

November 5, 2023

Fighting the Opioid Crisis with Mark & Alison Hayes

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Arkansas Municipal League Executive Director Mark Hayes and his wife Alison Hayes for an important conversation about the opioid crisis. In 2020, Mark and Alison lost their 23-year-old son Wells to an overdose and since then, have devoted themselves to fighting the opioid epidemic and helping anyone impacted by addiction and overdoses. They share what their own experience supporting Wells through addiction was like and the actions we can all take to stop this crisis.

October 5, 2023

Transforming Community Mental Health with Dr. Arthur Evans

In this episode, Clarence sits down for a conversation with an old friend – Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of the American Psychological Association – the leading scientific and professional psychology organization in the United States. They discuss what goes into building strong mental health strategies for city governments, as well as Dr. Evans’ personal journey to public service.

September 7, 2023

Growing Affordable Housing with Redmond Mayor Angela Birney & Clearfield City Mayor Mark Shepherd

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Mayor Angela Birney from Redmond, Washington and Mayor Mark Shepherd from Clearfield City, Utah to talk about the affordable housing crisis in America’s communities, and the innovative approaches they’re taking to address the challenge in their cities. Both leaders are involved in NLC’s Housing Supply Accelerator – an initiative focused on bringing partners from across the housing sector together, to increase and improve the supply of affordable housing stock for residents.

August 3, 2023

Helping Communities Heal from Gun Violence with Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering & Monterey Park Councilmember Henry Lo

In this episode, Clarence has conversations with Mayor Nancy Rotering from Highland Park, Illinois and Councilmember Henry Lo from Monterey Park, California – local elected officials who have both led their communities through the aftermath of gun violence in their cities. They discuss what it was like for each of them to first respond to the tragedies in their communities, how each city had to quickly mobilize to get information and resources to residents, and how their respective communities have banded together to heal over the last several months.

July 13, 2023

One Year of CitiesSpeak: Why We Serve

CitiesSpeak with Clarence Anthony is one year old! In this month’s episode, we took a look back at some of our best conversations from the past year, many of which feature the stories of why our local leaders chose the path of public service.

June 15, 2023

Supporting LGBTQ+ Leaders with Victory Institute President & CEO Annise Parker

In this special Pride Month episode, Clarence sits down with Annise Parker, former mayor of Houston and President and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, which works to build, train and support LGBTQ+ leaders at all levels of government to advance equality in public office. They discuss Mayor Parker’s personal journey in public service as the first openly LGBTQ+ mayor of a major American city, and how the Victory Institute supports LGBTQ+ candidates up and down the ballot.

June 1, 2023

Episode 12: Supporting Residents in Recovery with Tom Coderre

Coming off of Mental Health Awareness Month, Clarence sits down for a conversation with Tom Coderre, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at SAMHSA. They discuss how Tom’s personal recovery journey has influenced his work at the agency, the impact of opioids on communities across America, and how local leaders can support better mental health for their residents.

May 18, 2023

Episode 11: Using Data to Inform Local Policymaking with Stephen Goldsmith

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Stephen Goldsmith, professor of urban policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, former Deputy Mayor of New York City, and former Mayor of Indianapolis, IN. They discuss how big data can help city leaders be better decision-makers and the innovative ways cities are using new technologies to solve some of our biggest challe

May 4, 2023

Episode 10: Building Safe & Inclusive Communities with Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao

In this episode, Clarence sits down for a moving conversation with Mayor Sheng Thao, Mayor of Oakland, California. They talk about how her upbringing and young adulthood living in public housing informed her approach to policymaking today, how Oakland is using ARPA dollars to address homelessness, and her vision for cities where everyone has a safe and affordable place to live.

APRIL 6, 2023

Episode 9: Reflecting on Public Service with Former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin

In this special episode recorded live at NLC’s Congressional City Conference, Clarence sits down with Steve Benjamin, former Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina to reflect on the lessons he’s learned about public service, partnerships that are important for local leaders to forge, and his new public engagement role in the Biden administration.

MARCH 2, 2023

Episode 8: Defining Leadership in a Polarized World with Mesa Mayor John Giles

In this episode, Clarence sits down with John Giles, Mayor of Mesa, Arizona for a moving conversation on bipartisan leadership. They discuss how Mayor Giles has navigated division and incivility in his community as one of America’s “most controversial conservative mayors” and what leadership means in an era of growing polarization.

FEBRUARY 2, 2023

Episode 7: Expanding Access to Affordable Housing with Tempe Mayor Corey Woods 

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Corey Woods, Mayor of Tempe, Arizona for a conversation about housing. They talk about Mayor Woods’ journey to being elected the city’s first African-American mayor, why housing availability is so critical to building inclusive communities, and the importance of federal, state and local collaboration to advance affordable housing.

JANUARY 5, 2023

Episode 6: Pairing People and Partnerships to Create Possibilities with Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards 

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Victoria Woodards, Mayor of Tacoma, Washington and our new National League of Cities President. They discuss her unexpected journey to public service and why she thinks combining the power of talented residents with strong partnerships can help create endless possibilities for everyone in communities across the country.

DECEMBER 8, 2022

Episode 5: Building Resilient Cities with Duluth Mayor Emily Larson  

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Emily Larson, Mayor of Duluth, Minnesota to talk about how the city of Duluth is addressing big issues from revitalizing its downtown core coming out of the pandemic to addressing the impacts of climate change and building a more sustainable community.

NOVEMBER 3, 2022

Episode 4: Building Innovative Communities with Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum

In this episode, Clarence sits down with G.T. Bynum, Mayor of Tulsa, Oklahoma to talk about the work the city of Tulsa is doing to prioritize equal opportunity for everyone, and how it’s drawn thousands of workers to the city through its innovative remote work incentive program.

OCTOBER 6, 2022

Episode 3: Protecting the Right to Vote with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner & Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt

In this two-for-one episode, Clarence sits down with Sylvester Turner, Mayor of Houston, Texas and David Holt, Mayor of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at the National Nonpartisan Conversation on Voter Rights. They discuss how cities across America are working toward greater voter engagement, education and access, and the importance of bipartisanship when it comes to protecting democracy.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2022

Episode 2: Creating Opportunities for People with Union City Mayor Vince Williams

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Vince Williams, Mayor of Union City, Georgia and President of the National League of Cities. They discuss the big opportunities that local leaders in small towns can create for their residents, how Union City boosted its economy by transforming a dilapidated mall into a booming business, and the role that his faith plays in his leadership.

JULY 27, 2022

Episode 1: Implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law with Mitch Landrieu

In this episode, Clarence sits down with Mitch Landrieu, former mayor of New Orleans and Senior Advisor & Infrastructure Coordinator for the White House. They discuss Mitch’s deep family roots in public service and his experience working across the local, state and federal levels. Mitch explains how his experience helping New Orleans recover after Hurricane Katrina has taught him valuable lessons about rebuilding communities after crisis, which he’s applying in his new role implementing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in the White House today.

JULY 20, 2022

Trailer: Introducing CitiesSpeak With Clarence Anthony

CitiesSpeak with Clarence Anthony, a new podcast from the National League of Cities, gives listeners an insider’s view of what local leadership in America means today. Featuring conversations between NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony and city leaders, policy experts and other guests, the show gets into the biggest issues, challenges and topics facing America’s cities, towns and villages. Whether it’s talking about what it’s like to have residents protesting on their front lawn or discussing the creative things local governments are doing with their infrastructure dollars, CitiesSpeak gives listeners insight into what’s on the minds of mayors and council members across the country.