Women Mayors Release New Report on Domestic Violence
By Joan Crigger
February 1, 2010
The U.S. Conference of Mayors Women Mayors<0x2019> Caucus met on January 20 during the Winter Meeting. Chaired by Hallandale Beach (FL) Mayor Joy Cooper, who was elected last June in Providence, the women mayors released a new Survey on Domestic Violence and discussed domestic violence issues with Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
<10>The first order of business was the introduction of the new President of The U.S. Conference of Mayors, Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth B. Kautz. Kautz, who was elected Vice President in June, was named President on January 5 following the defeat of former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. She is the fifth woman to serve as President of the Conference of Mayors. Kautz thanked the women mayors for their support when she first ran for Second Vice President. She said she would need their continued support for the Mayor<0x2019>s 2010 Metro Agenda and stressed the importance of getting Congress to pass the Jobs bill with the inclusion of the USCM Metro Agenda.10>
Following Kautz<0x2019>s comments, Cooper introduced Conference of Mayors CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran and asked him to review how women mayors can move up in the organization. Cochran told of Kautz<0x2019>s original statement to him 20 years ago when she indicated she wanted to be active in the organization. Of her presidency, Cochran said, <0x201C>She earned it.<0x201D> He then explained how mayors can move up in the Conference and told them how to become involved in the organization.
After thanking Kautz and Cochran, Cooper introduced Congresswoman Schultz. As part of her introduction, Cooper told the assembly about her decision to focus on domestic violence immediately after her election last June. Focusing on domestic violence was important because of its impact on the community and because it is tied to jobs and unemployment. She also shared the development of the Survey on Domestic Violence that was sent to all mayors to get a snapshot of what domestic violence looks like in cities across the country. The report, <0x201C>City Responses to Domestic Violence<0x201D> that was released during the meeting, showed an average of one percent decrease in domestic violence calls to local police departments.
The Congresswoman opened her remarks by saying, <0x201C>You couldn<0x2019>t pay me enough to do your job.<0x201D> Schultz gave a brief review of where women are in Congress <0x2014> 17 percent are women <0x2014> while 17.6 percent of mayors over 30,000 in population are women. <0x201C>If we work together, we can do anything. We need to show young women that they can do anything.<0x201D>
<-20>Schultz then spoke about her involvement in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and how this reauthorization (H.R. 3401) was a <0x201C>fix it<0x201D> bill that would improve the overall impact of the Act. She said the bill is co'sponsored by Representative Ted Poe (TX) and now has 38 cosponsors. She then asked the women mayors to contact their congressional members and urge them to cosponsor the legislation. She also asked them to thank their police officers who are on the front line, who put their lives on the line when they answer domestic violence calls. She said that, since 1994 when VAWA was enacted, the number of women killed in domestic violence situations has decreased 17 percent. A brief discussion with the Congresswoman followed.-20>
Cooper said she would pass a copy of the legislation out to the women mayors. Following a vote in support of the legislation, Cooper said that she would develop a resolution reflecting that support for the June meeting. She also said she would send a sample resolution to the mayors that could be adopted by their cities.
Following a discussion about moving up in The U.S. Conference of Mayors, the meeting adjourned.