Infrastructure can be a powerful connector in a community, but unfortunately, it has been used to divide America in the past. Access to good infrastructure is far from equitable across the U.S. The next infrastructure plan from Washington needs to acknowledge how intentional equitable approaches to transportation, broadband access, clean water, and workforce training can make a difference in rebuilding the places we call “home.”
Join America’s local leaders as we share our work to rebuild and our goals for Washington to bring forward a bipartisan infrastructure package that reaches everyone nationwide.
This event was hosted in partnership with United for Infrastructure, as part of Infrastructure Week 2021.
The Honorable Alex Padilla, United States Senator (D-CA)
Senator Alex Padilla is the proud son of immigrants from Mexico, his father a short-order cook and his mother a housekeeper. Senator Padilla attended Los Angeles public schools and is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. After graduating from MIT, Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council where he served as the youngest Council President in Los Angeles history and provided citywide leadership at critical times, including serving as acting Mayor during the tragedy of September 11, 2001. He was elected to the State Senate in 2006 to represent the more than 1.1 million people in the San Fernando Valley. As a State Senator, Padilla passed more than 70 bills, including landmark legislation to combat climate change, and was named as one of Sacramento’s “most effective legislators.”
Padilla served as California’s first Latino Secretary of State starting on January 5, 2015 and was re-elected in 2018, receiving the most votes of any Latino elected official in the United States. As Secretary of State, Padilla worked to make elections more accessible and inclusive, while fighting to protect the integrity of voting systems.
As California’s Junior U.S. Senator, Padilla serves as Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Safety. He also serves as a member of the Senate Committees on Budget, Environment and Public Works, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Judiciary, and Rules.
The Honorable Victoria Woodards, Mayor, Tacoma, Washington and Second Vice President, National League of Cities
Before becoming Mayor in 2018, Mayor Woodards served for seven years as an at-large member of the City Council. During that time, she launched the City’s Equity and Empowerment initiative which led to the establishment of its Office of Equity and Human Rights. She also brought partner organizations together for then President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative and spearheaded the City’s Project PEACE initiative which bridged community members with the Tacoma Police Department.
Mayor Woodards serves in a number of national leadership roles that allow her to share information with other cities across the country and bring best practices back to Tacoma. At the National League of Cities (NLC), she currently serves as Second Vice President on the board of directors and as co-chair of both NLC’s Council on Youth, Education, and Families and the Race, Equity, and Leadership program.
Some of her other leadership roles as Tacoma’s mayor include positions on the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board, Sound Transit Board, Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board, Pierce Transit Board, Foundation for Tacoma Students Board, and the Workforce Central Board. In partnership with County Executive Bruce Dammeier and County Council Member Connie Ladenburg, she also convened elected leaders from across Pierce County for Mayoral Roundtable to explore opportunities for regional collaboration on the issue of housing attainability in the region, an initiative that formally came to be known as the ‘South Sound Housing Affordability Partners.’
The Honorable Aaron Banks, Council President, City of Jackson, Mississippi
In 2013 Aaron Banks was asked by the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba to serve as a Liaison of the Mayor’s Office to the community at large as a Constituent Service Representative. Council President Banks also served the City of Jackson in the capacity of Deputy Chief Administrator Officer where he managed what was known as the Division of Quality Life. This division included the city’s departments of Parks and Recreation, Human and Cultural Services and Personnel. After leaving the City of Jackson, Aaron launched his career in the private sector as a successful owner and operator of Vision Strategies LLC, an innovative political and public relations consulting company. In 2017 Aaron Banks was elected to become councilman of the capitol city’s Ward 6. Council President Banks has served as Chair of the Economic Development Committee, Rules Committee, Law Enforcement Ad-hoc Committee and Legislative Committee. In addition, Banks has served as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, Education Committee and now currently serves as President of the Jackson City Council.
Council President Banks is a proud member of the Mississippi Municipal League and member of the Mississippi Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials where he serves as President. In addition, Council President Banks proudly serves as a member of the National League of Cities where he has represented his city as member of the Race, Equity, And Leadership council, Community and Economic Development advocacy committee, and 2nd Vice President for the National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials.
The Honorable Ana Sandoval, Councilmember, City of San Antonio, Texas
Councilwoman Ana Sandoval currently serves on the San Antonio City Council, where she represents Council District 7 and champions issues of public health, open government, climate resiliency, and public transportation. She chairs the Council’s committee on Community Health & Equity and committee on Public Safety. Since taking office, Councilwoman Sandoval has led policy initiatives to improve the City’s public participation efforts, grow our investment in public health, provide workers with earned paid sick leave, and put the City on track for a sustainable, resilient future. Councilwoman Sandoval’s studies took her from MIT to Stanford to Harvard, where she obtained degrees in engineering and public health. Previously, she worked for the San Francisco’s Air Quality Management District, where she focused on air quality and environmental justice, and VIA Metropolitan Transit, where she worked as a transportation planner.
The Honorable Jake Spano, Mayor, City of St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Jake Spano has served as mayor since 2016. He was first elected as mayor in 2015, then re-elected to a second term in 2019. Prior to being elected as mayor, he served a four-year term as Council Member at Large B. His day job is as deputy secretary of state to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon. Prior to that, he was the marketing director for the City of St. Paul in Mayor Coleman’s administration and before that he served with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar overseeing statewide policy and leading her four state offices and staff. Mayor Spano serves on the Southwest Light Rail Transit Corridor Management Committee and the Executive Committee for the Regional Council of Mayors. He serves on the National League of Cities (NLC) Board of Directors and is co-chair of the NLC Race, Equity and Leadership council. He is a member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and a co-founder of Minnesota Mayors Together. Prior to his public service, Mayor Spano worked as a project manager and account executive in the architecture, design and construction industry. He received his bachelor of arts degree from Hamline University and his master’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Anthony Foxx, Former Secretary, U.S. Department of Transportation
Anthony Foxx is the Chief Policy Officer and Senior Advisor to the President and CEO at Lyft. In his role, Anthony works alongside Lyft’s co-founders and executive team — at the intersection of transportation policy, technology, and public-private partnerships — to expand affordable mobility options and improve people’s lives with the world’s best transportation.
From 2013-2017, Anthony served as the 17th United States Secretary of Transportation, leading an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget, whose primary goal was to ensure that America maintains the safest, most efficient transportation system in the world. Among many accomplishments during his tenure, the DOT established a first-ever policy framework for the safe integration of self-driving vehicles, and leveraged $350 million in public and private funding to demonstrate how smart technology can change cities and local communities.
Anthony was also the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina from 2009-2013. During this time, he made transportation investments the centerpiece of Charlotte’s job creation and economic recovery efforts. These investments included extending the LYNX light rail system, the largest capital project ever undertaken by the city. He also expanded Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (the sixth busiest in the world), worked with North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to accelerate the I-485 outer belt loop, and started the Charlotte Streetcar project.
Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities
Clarence E. Anthony is CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC), the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. Under his leadership, NLC has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to public safety, infrastructure, economic development, and sustainability. Mr. Anthony began his career in public service as mayor of South Bay, Florida, for 24 years. As mayor, he created new educational and economic opportunities for residents, including building his community’s first library, which was named in his honor. During his time in elected office, Mr. Anthony served as president of the Florida League of Cities and National League of Cities. In Palm Beach County, he was part of the founding group of Palm Beach County Black Elected Officials, the tourism development board, Discover Palm Beach County, and a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Following his time in office, Mr. Anthony represented local governments on the world stage as Founding Treasurer and Interim Manager of United Cities and Local Governments. He later founded Anthony Government Solutions, a firm focused on strategic visioning, policy development, and management restructuring for government and private sector organizations.
Irma Esparza Diggs, Senior Executive and Director of Federal Advocacy, National League of Cities
Irma Esparza Diggs serves as the director of federal advocacy for the National League of Cities. She leads the organization’s grassroots and lobbying efforts to ensure the 1,700 member cities have a voice in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining NLC, she served as Chief of Staff in the Office of Legislation and Congressional Affairs at the Department of Education under Secretary Arne Duncan and John King. Prior to joining President Obama’s Administration, she led the U.S. House Democratic Caucus as Executive Director. Irma has also served as the D.C. City Council Chief of Staff, Congressional Liaison at the Department of Commerce during President Clinton’s Administration, aide to Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson from her home state of Texas, and as a key operative for the American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees. Irma earned her BA from The Catholic University of America and an MPA from American University.