Washington, D.C. – On the second day of its 92nd Winter Meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors welcomed national leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris, who celebrated city leaders for their “power to convene” during a conversation on ways to reduce gun violence in America.

“You as mayors have the power to convene not only the community-based providers, the folks from city agencies, folks from law enforcement,” said Vice President Harris. “You create these conversations where invariably ideas will come from and plans can be hatched to create greater synergy.”

On the main stage, she and Kansas City (MO) Mayor Quinton Lucas discussed gun violence and mayors’ contributions to the 2022 passage of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the historic and bipartisan gun safety legislation.

Across the day, mayors also heard from U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.

The day also featured breakouts sessions, where mayors and experts discussed local solutions to national challenges.

On infrastructure, Edina (MN) Mayor Jim Hovland moderated a discussion on the impact of the Local Infrastructure Hub, a national program in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and other organizations. He was joined by Cincinnati (OH) Mayor Aftab Pureval and federal transportation officials. The group traded best practices for accessing historic federal infrastructure money and using it to improve things like roadway safety. Mayors like Fontana (CA) Mayor Acquanetta Warren celebrated the hard-fought resources. “I went back to my city and said, ‘Look, this is no joke, we can get this grant,” she said. Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles agreed: “Not in our lifetime are we going to see an atmosphere like this for infrastructure.”

On mental health, Coral Springs (FL) Mayor Scott Brook led a panel about behavioral health in cities, including the need to provide mental health resources to local first responders. It’s a need he saw rise in his city after the 2018 Parkland High School shooting and the 2021 Surfside condominium collapse. Mental health is also personal for so many mayors, including Mayor Brook and Youngstown (OH) Mayor Jamael Tito Brown, who shared family experiences with mental illness.

On public safety, Fort Worth (TX) Mayor Mattie Parker co-chaired a panel on police departments. Mayors and police chiefs shared their struggles with staffing levels and recommendations for recruiting, hiring and retaining police officers. ”Public safety is the bedrock of any successful city,” said Mayor Parker.

The Conference also hosted a meeting of the recently-launched Women’s Health and Reproductive Rights Task Force, co-chaired by Burnsville (MN) Mayor Elizabeth Kautz and Tucson (AZ) Mayor Regina Romero.

On Friday, the final day of the Winter Meeting, mayors will hear from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Later, they will conclude the 92nd Winter Meeting by gathering at the White House for a conversation with President Joe Biden.