As the 2020 election puts our nation’s priorities into focus, America’s mayors call for all presidential and congressional candidates to recognize the important role cities play in shaping America’s future.

Cities bring people together, drive economic growth,
create culture and spur innovation.

They are the center of American life.

The Mayors’ Vision for America: A 2020 Call to Action, drafted by the United States Conference of Mayors, outlines 12 strategic priorities that will improve the quality of life for all U.S. residents in 2020 and beyond.

Our nation’s cities matter more today than ever before. Why? Because cities and their metropolitan areas dominate U.S. economic growth and continue to drive our economy.

  • Cities are the Center of U.S Population. They represent 86 percent of the nation’s population and 91 percent of real gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Cities are Home to More Jobs and More Job Creation. The U.S. Metro/City share of total employment increased to 88 percent in 2018, as metros added 2.1 million jobs, accounting for 94 percent of all U.S. job gains.
  • Cities are Home to the Highest Share of Personal Income. The metro share of U.S. total personal income stands at 89 percent and wage income at 92 percent.
  • Cities are the Incubators of Talent. The best and brightest talent is flocking to cities because they prefer the accessibility, infrastructure and vibrancy that cities provide, and they want to be where innovation thrives.

But despite the economic growth over the past 10 years, many residents still lack opportunity, fear for their safety, and feel disconnected from their broader community and the nation. These concerns extend to middle class families who feel their economic security threatened.

The questions many Americans ask remain:

  • “What does the future of our country look like?”
  • “What’s the future of the middle class and how do we help lift up those living in poverty?”
  • “How do we help workers transition to a new economy?
  • “How do we make sure that a growing economy benefits all?”
  • “Will the next generation have a better quality of life than I did?”

Across our country, too many Americans have not benefited from the recovery, are underemployed, or are saddled with student loan debt. Economic forecasters project that income inequality will remain a long-term problem that will worsen unless addressed through national policies.

The United States Conference of Mayors: Advocating for America’s Cities and Their Residents

As the leading voice of America’s cities, The U.S Conference of Mayors is uniquely suited to recommend a strategic vision for America. Since its founding in 1932, the Conference remains the place where America’s mayors – Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike – come together in a collegial, bipartisan manner to get things done.

Within the Conference, the mayors of cities of all sizes, across all regions and all manner of demographic and socio-economic composition, are working side-by-side to solve problems, improve conditions, and create and cause positive change.

Our Mayor’s Vision for America: A 2020 Call to Action platform of 12 priorities is organized under the Conference’s bipartisan focus on Infrastructure, Innovation and Inclusion. Together they represent a compelling way forward.

Our intentional focus on the Three I’s – Infrastructure, Innovation and Inclusion – is fundamental to the advancement of every city in America. The pages that follow provide substantive background on each of our 12 priorities, along with specific action steps for each.

The 2020 Election: The Need for Partnership and Action

The 2020 Election must be about solidifying the partnership between the federal government and America’s communities to better serve the American people. And the federal government must be an engaged, active and collaborative partner. People need to hear how all candidates are going to address the future, embrace change and work together to address our common challenges.

In the midst of challenges and opportunities, our partnership with the federal government is threatened by dysfunction in Washington that must be addressed.

Washington has ignored the national affordable housing crisis, has inadequately addressed immigration reform and has underfunded programs for distressed neighborhoods. It has also failed to address climate change, has not developed a comprehensive approach to public safety, and has struggled to find the ways and means to fund our federal government.

America needs a federal government that works with its cities and metro areas today on an agenda for the American people – an agenda that is needed for future generations.

Our Invitation

We’re starting the conversation by offering our strategic platform, the Mayors’ Vision for America: A 2020 Call to Action. We invite all presidential and congressional candidates to outline their vision for strengthening our nation’s cities and metro areas with a platform that allows all residents to thrive.

We look forward to a positive and productive partnership with those elected in 2020 as we work together to move America’s cities and our nation forward.

Sources for Economic and Demographic Data: U.S. Metro Economies, GMP and Employment 2019-2020; HIS 88 Markit; USCM


Focused on: Infrastructure, Innovation, & Inclusion

A PDF version of this report is also availble.

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