Washington, D.C. – On the final day of the U.S Conference of Mayors’ 92nd Winter Meeting, America’s mayors discussed local solutions with national leaders, including President Joe Biden. Mayors met with the president at the White House, where he praised their leadership. “Mayors are the people who get things done,” said the president. “I have enormous respect for the jobs you do.“
Before heading to the White House, mayors at the Winter Meeting continued to spotlight challenges they’re working to solve. Of note, they sounded the alarm about the trend of state legislatures overreaching and blocking local governance.
On this topic of state preemption, San Antonio (TX) Mayor Ron Nirenberg moderated a discussion with Fresno (CA) Mayor Jerry Dyer, Toledo (OH) Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, and Albany (NY) Mayor Kathy Sheehan. Mayors talked about the implications for their residents. “This is a new front in the battleground to preserve our democracy,” said Mayor Nirenberg.
Also on the final day, mayors hosted various breakout sessions and welcomed more top federal officials. They heard from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, as well as Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), and Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY).
On hate and extremism, St. Louis (MO) Mayor Tishaura Jones led a discussion on mayor-led action: “We as mayors should never be scared to fight hate and extremism in our communities.”
Edina (MN) Mayor James Hovland led a discussion with mayors and federal transportation officials to talk about how to create world class infrastructure systems in America. Gresham (OR) Mayor Travis Stovall, Austin (TX) Mayor Kirk Watson, and Normal (IL) Mayor Chris Koos touched on local needs around public transit, aviation, and passenger rail.
Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles chaired a meeting of the Conference’s Immigration Reform Task Force, where he was joined by fellow mayors and federal officials with the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and the White House. The group emphasized the need for comprehensive immigration reform, especially after years of congressional inaction. “This is a political problem,” said Mayor Giles. “There are solutions available in Congress. It’s a top priority of mayors.”
The U.S. Conference of Mayors will next meet in Kansas City, Missouri in June for the 92nd Annual Meeting.