This week the National League of Cities (NLC) is holding its annual conference in Seattle. As a member of the Board, I worked with the NLC to get them to commit to visiting our City. This visit gives us the opportunity to showcase the great things Seattle is doing while engaging Mayors and Councilmembers from around the country in policy and legislative discussions. NLC is the premier organization representing America’s 17,000 cities and towns.
Over the last few years, the organization, which was always moderately liberal, has moved steadily in a more progressive direction. Two years ago, NLC adopted a strong platform plank advocating comprehensive immigration reform, and this year made it one of its top three legislative priorities. Last summer, the NLC Board adopted a position in support of Marriage Equality, on a motion that I was proud to be able to offer. Our outgoing President, Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, is the granddaughter of farm workers and a strong voice for immigration reform. The incoming President at this year’s conference is Mayor Chris Coleman of St. Paul, Minnesota, a strong voice for cities and progressive policies.
At the conference, I will be part of two ‘mobile workshops’, programs that take delegates on tours to look at City initiatives. The first will be on Community Emergency Hubs, our creative program to provide neighborhood level communications strategies for use in earthquakes and other disasters. The second will be a tour of South Lake Union and our new economic development opportunities. Other mobile workshops will focus on programs like the Living Building Challenge, our Zero Waste Strategy, the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative, and community technology learning centers. All of them have sold out in advance, as registration for this conference has exceeded the numbers for previous years.
Please join me in welcoming our visitors – if you see them around town, let them know that Seattle is a place that is proud of what we are doing and ready to share our successes with others who would like to do the same!