In 2017, local leadership took center stage in the American political arena. Whatever the issue — climate, immigration, foreign affairs, public safety, law — mayors and city councilmembers emerged as a clear voice of reason in an unsteady time.
Throughout the year, we’ve proudly worked to elevate the voices of city leaders on CitiesSpeak, bringing the earned wisdom of America’s most trusted politicians to an attentive national audience.
Among all such articles, these five diverse stories stood out:
Wildfires Are A Community Design Problem
Mayor John Suthers, Colorado Springs, CO
“Every mayor or city manager has read an article or watched a news clip focused on a community ravaged by wildfire. Many have even witnessed firsthand the economic, environmental, and social implications that wildland-urban interface fires can create in unprepared communities. Every year, these images grow more widespread and familiar.”
Cities Can Tackle Hunger and Food Waste Through Collaboration
Council President Pro Tem Priscilla Tyson, Columbus, Ohio
“Nearly one-in-five children in my city of Columbus, Ohio, is food insecure. This mirrors statistics we find across the nation. In 2016, 12.3 percent (15.6 million) of U.S. households were food insecure at some point, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.”
What Crossing the Mexican Border Taught Me About Inclusion
Councilmember Fabian Bedne, Nashville, Tennessee
“When I first came to Nashville, I found a city that was welcoming, kind, and full of potential. My journey had brought me from Buenos Aires to Ohio to Tennessee, but the city I now call home welcomed my wife and me with open arms.”
Why America Should Invest in Afterschool and Summer Programs
Mayor Karen Best, Branson, Missouri
“As mayor of Branson, one of my primary responsibilities is ensuring the sustainability and prosperity of our community. There is no better way to ensure our city’s future than providing our young people with opportunities to learn and grow in a safe environment outside of the school day.”
How Cities Can Bring Nature to Children
Mayor Chris Coleman, St. Paul, Minnesota
“I grew up in a family that celebrated being in the great outdoors – we would travel to the Boundary Waters and our national parks. I was fortunate to spend that time in the wilderness, but that wasn’t my only, or even most common, experience in nature. Most of my time outdoors was spent in the woods behind my house.”
Let’s Be Frank, Municipal Bonds Built This Country
Councilmember Matt Zone, Cleveland, Ohio
“From the construction of schools and hospitals to water treatment facilities and roads, municipal bonds provide the means for more than 42,000 state and local governments to finance infrastructure projects.”
If you’re a city leader or staffer interested in writing for CitiesSpeak in 2018, contact Sam Warlick and the National League of Cities at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Sam Warlick is the senior content strategist at the National League of Cities and the editor of CitiesSpeak. He is a Nashville native and lives in Washington, DC.