Every year at the United States Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting, mayors from across the country come together to discuss resolutions that the nation’s mayors believe will help guide our progress over the coming year. We focus on a wide variety of topics and over the next two weeks leading up to our meeting, we want to provide you with some more information on what we consider to be the most important priorities mayors have for our cities.
As the nation’s mayors begin to gather at the 87th Annual Meeting in Honolulu this week, we’re starting off this series talking about health. For our cities to grow and for our citizens to have access to all of the opportunities they expect and deserve, we need to work towards a healthier future. You can read all of our proposed resolutions for the issue areas of Children, Health and Human Services here.
A healthier future begins with ensuring our children can lead healthy and happy lives. This year the United States Conference of Mayors will discuss a number of resolutions aimed at reaffirming our position that the health and welfare of children are among the top priorities for leaders of America’s cities.
“There are no challenges so large we can’t face them by working together. Sharing our knowledge and our solutions we will find ways to ensure that the mayors serving the people living in America’s cities are doing the best job possible,” said Conference President Columbia, S.C. Mayor Steve Benjamin. “It starts with helping all of our constituents lead healthier, better lives and that is why we’re bringing these and other resolutions to our annual conference this year – so we can be sure mayors are doing all we can to help our communities grow and flourish.“
Mayors, in a resolution sponsored by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, will discuss urging Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to examined access to high-quality child care for all families who need it, bring coherence to early learning systems and invest in childcare workers and their businesses.
Also, at this year’s annual meeting, mayors will talk about the issue of childhood nutrition in resolutions sponsored by Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. This year we will consider three different resolutions ensuring the 13 million children living below the poverty line and the 12 million children living in households struggling with food insecurity always have access to nutritious meals.
Our nation’s children are not the only ones who face serious health and welfare challenges. This year, mayors intend to call on President Donald Trump and members of Congress to continue to strongly fund research and care for our citizens suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias through a resolution sponsored by Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell. There are an estimated 5.8 million people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States. Roughly 16 million caregivers provided more than 118 billion hours of care for individuals with dementia in 2018. If adopted, the mayors are calling on Congress and the Trump administration to do everything they can to continue to support the people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, their families, friends and their caregivers.
These long-standing health issues are not our only priorities when it comes to the health and welfare of the people living in American cities. New situations and technologies have renewed old challenges that our citizens have to face to live healthy lives.
In at least a dozen states, state legislatures have passed or are considering passing anti-abortion bills. These laws violate the spirit of the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade and are intended to cause confusion, unsettle existing law and end legal abortion nationwide despite potential dangers to the health of women. The United States Conference of Mayors, for the first time, will discuss a resolution that if passed would affirm our position that women have a legal right to their own reproductive decisions.
Last and certainly not least, after generations of making progress educating the public, especially young people about the dangers of smoking, use of tobacco products is skyrocketing among middle schoolers and high schoolers. According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2017 and 2018, tobacco usage rose by 38.3 percent among high school students and 29 percent among middle school students. The CDC also found that electronic cigarette use or vaping rose by 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent among middle school students during the same period.
Mayors know all too well the health risks that come with young people and teens developing a tobacco addiction early. Lousiville Mayor Greg Fischer has sponsored a resolution aiming to combat the growing vaping epidemic and support the passage of bills like the Tobacco-Free Youth Act in the Senate and the Tobacco to 21 Act in the House.
Mayors are known for getting things done and this is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more information on the other issues mayors will be taking on at this year’s annual meeting kicking off this Friday, June 28 in Honolulu.
 Data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2017
 Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2017
 The Alzheimer Association
 The U.S. Center for Disease Control