Activities included a kick-off press conference, policy forums, and convenings of standing committees, where the Conference began advancing its policy priorities

(Columbus, OH) – Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors opened its 91st Annual Meeting. Over 200 mayors from across the country are gathering in Columbus, Ohio to discuss local solutions to national challenges with an emphasis on gun violence, mental health, and state capital overreach into city authority.

In an opening press conference, mayors spoke about the spirit of action that motivates them all – rolling up their sleeves to empower communities, protect public safety, and make cities more prosperous.

“The spirit that drives this Conference is its members, plain and simple. We get things done, and it’s what we do, day in, day out,” said Miami (FL) Mayor Francis Suarez. “As mayors, we go out to our communities, we understand the people, and we solve their problems. We can make our next generation healthier, happier and ready to achieve great things.”

“We will do everything we can as mayors,” said USCM First Vice President Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve. “We’re persistent, we’re passionate, we never give up.”

“Our annual meeting,” said Second Vice President and Columbus (OH) Mayor Andrew Mayor, is “where we set our priorities…where we share our best ideas.”

Throughout the day, mayors shared those best ideas and heard from other cities and experts in the public and private sectors. Then, standing committees met to begin setting the Conference’s policy agenda for the year ahead. At those meetings, they advance policy resolutions, which the Conference votes on at the end of the Annual Meeting.

At the Energy Standing Committee, led by New Bedford (MA) Mayor Jon Mitchell, mayors pushed for affordable, clean energy by advancing six resolutions. The resolutions touched on lithium-ion fires, shortages of electric transformers, and funds for grid upgrades. Next, mayors heard how to directly access federal dollars for clean energy, thanks to the federal bipartisan infrastructure law and the Inflation Reduction Act. Mayors also discussed off-shore wind, fleet electrification, aging utility equipment, regional collaboration, and supply chain challenges.

At the Children, Health and Human Services Standing Committee, chaired by Richmond (VA) Mayor Levar Stoney, mayors considered resolutions on mental health, food security and access to childcare. After adopting their resolutions, the Committee discussed lung cancer screening and early childhood education.

At the Transportation Standing Committee, the mayors on the panel considered and advanced a half-dozen resolutions. One resolution called for sustained funding for a “strong and expanding public transit.” Others urged the Biden Administration to invest in local EV initiatives and to leverage federal funds to support equitable transit-oriented development. The Committee also passed resolutions calling on Congress to pass the Railway Safety Act of 2023 and to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration.

Then, at the Metro Economies Standing Committee, mayors advanced five resolutions, which focused on revitalizing downtowns, strengthening retirement security, and addressing Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine. Mayors also heard about how cities such as Cleveland are investing in and redeveloping their downtown areas to account for new normals after covid.

The Annual Meeting will continue on Saturday and Sunday and then conclude on Monday with the election of a new leadership team and the adoption of policy resolutions considered in the standing committees.