Democratic Mayors Mobilize at Democratic National Convention
By Virginia Mayer
September 15, 2008
Over 70 Democratic mayors attended the Democratic National Convention and participated in a range of activities sponsored by the National Conference of Democratic Mayors (NCDM) including a press conference and A Taste of America’s Cities Reception. They also served as surrogates at State Party Breakfasts and participated in a lively discussion during Coffee and Conversation with mayors.
Providence Mayor David Cicilline, NCDM President, announced the launch of an unprecedented campaign to elect Senator Barak Obama. He was joined at the press conference by NCDM Officers Southfield (MI) Mayor Brenda Lawrence, Minneapolis (MN) Mayor R.T. Rybak and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez in addition to many other Democratic mayors.
The Fight for Families Campaign includes a mass voter registration drive and Get Out the Vote effort on September 30th; a bus tour supporting blue mayors in red states; and a round-the-clock truth squad initiative. NCDM is also working with Obama’s urban policy team to sponsor policy discussions and debates over the next few weeks leading up to the national election.
“We are here today to deliver a very simple message: America’s Cities cannot afford another term of a Republican White House,” said Cicilline at the NCDM Press Conference. Rybak called for a new partnership with the federal government. “For too long, mayors have been building our nation’s economy, fighting crime and addressing global climate change without support from Washington. This failed partnership needs to change – which is why mayors are working so hard to elect Senator Obama – a true champion and partner for America’s cities.”
State Party Breakfasts
Several mayors volunteered to speak at various State Party Breakfasts to carry the message about the vital importance of having an urban agenda and to urge delegates to do everything possible to elect Obama. Chavez and Pomona (CA) Mayor Norma Torres addressed the Colorado State Party; Cicilline spoke to the Maryland and Minnesota State Parties; Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa addressed the Florida, New Hampshire and Texas State Parties; and Trenton (NJ) Mayor Douglas H. Palmer addressed the Florida and Pennsylvania State Parties.
A Taste of America’s Cities
Over 300 guests enjoyed a taste of some of America’s finest cuisine at the Denver Tea Room at a reception sponsored by the National Conference of Democratic Mayors and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. Boston, Chicago, Denver, Louisville, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco and Seattle provided a beautiful array of food and spirits for all to enjoy.
Coffee and Conversation with Mayors
Keith Boykin, editor of The Daily Voice Newspaper and host of BET television show My Two Cents, moderated a lively discussion with Mayors at Coffee and Conversation with mayors on Wednesday of the Convention. Charleston (SC) Mayor Joe Riley spoke about the importance of having a national urban agenda – including a focus on education, crime and affordable housing. “People aren’t worried about al-Qaeda – they are worried about al-Gangs,” remarked Palmer. Cicilline emphasized the importance of raising the profile of an urban agenda and the need to define ways to ensure the candidates talk about urban issues. “There is no better voice for change than mayors” remarked Cicilline. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino reminded the Democratic mayors that if they don’t get to work when they get home and elect Obama to the White House – the discussions about a national urban policy will be for naught.