Regardless of party affiliation and policy disagreements, the model of local input in the federal process over the recent years should be replicated, not rejected.
This is a guest post by Mayor Craig Thurmond.
Today, hundreds of thousands gather in Washington, D.C. to witness the 58th Inauguration in American history. People have traveled across the nation to watch Donald J. Trump be sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. On behalf of the National League of Cities, we congratulate incoming President Trump and look forward to a productive partnership with his administration over the next four years.
Inauguration Day is an important ceremony for our country as it embodies the peaceful transition of power upon which our democracy is built. As a local elected leader, I recognize what it means for me to be present at this historic event.
While today we witness the passage of power on the federal level, we can’t forget that hundreds of thousands of local elected leaders around the country take part in the same action – swearing an oath to faithfully execute the duties of the offices we hold. Like the new president, we commit ourselves to supporting the Constitution of the United States, which is why we must recognize the importance of building federal partnerships for cities across the country, such as my city of Broken Arrow. Our political system relies on the collaboration of all three levels of government: local, state and federal. It is therefore critical that cities have a voice when it comes to the federal policies created in Washington – and it is even more critical that Washington listen.
Over the past eight years, the National League of Cities has praised certain policies of the Obama Administration and deeply criticized others. One policy that should be commended is the Administration’s willingness to work with local leaders who strive to make their voices heard in Washington. Regardless of party affiliation and policy disagreements, the model of local input in the federal process over the recent years should be replicated, not rejected.
On Tuesday, I heard incoming Vice President Mike Pence speak at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. I urge you to read the full transcript when it becomes available. For now, I wanted to call your attention to his message about partnership: “We’re working for the people, after all. The president-elect and I are determined to forge strong partnerships between the federal government and the cities of this country. Make no mistake about it, we both believe that you have the most important jobs in public service.” As members of the National League of Cities, local elected officials like myself know that NLC is the best-placed organization to help build those bridges.
I am proud to celebrate the inauguration of our 45th President. I implore him to find local voices to put in his White House and to always seek out the local perspective. I feel optimistic about the role cities will play in this new administration, but I know that good federal leadership always thinks about how its policies will be enacted at the local level.
That’s why I came to Washington this weekend: to congratulate our new president, and let him know that America’s cities are willing and ready to work with his administration. And that’s why I’ll be back here in March for the 2017 Congressional City Conference – because cities need a voice in Washington.
About the author: Craig Thurmond is the mayor of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. He was first elected to City Council in 2001 and served as Vice Mayor from 2003-07 and again from 2010-12.