Sessions build on previous days’ work to establish Conference priorities. Meeting concludes tomorrow as mayors adopt policy agenda, elect new leadership for coming year.

(Kansas City, Mo.) – Today, on the third day of the 92nd annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), mayors built on their previous days’ work establishing Conference priorities with a pivot to discussions of best practices, successes and challenges they are facing in their communities, and how best to achieve the goals set during prior committee sessions.

During the plenary lunch, USCM and Target announced winners of the 2024 Police Reform and Equitable Justice Grants. These grants have been awarded over the last four years to cities investing in policies and practices with their police departments to ensure equitable treatment of all in their communities. In total, $350,000 in grants were awarded to three cities.

At the Public-Private Partnerships (P3) Task Force meeting, Riverside (CA) Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson led a conversation about how cities can partner with private companies to build public infrastructure. She was joined by other current mayors and former Columbia (SC) Mayor Stephen Benjamin, now a White House senior advisor. “There’s no better place to build partnerships than with mayors, who have to think about partnerships every single day,” he said. “It’s great to see this group of bipartisan leaders trying to get things done.”

At a session on mental health and homelessness, mayors and experts discussed ways cities are helping connect unhoused people with affordable housing and supportive services. USCM President Reno (NV) Mayor Hillary Schieve celebrated a local 24/7 crisis center for those experiencing a mental health crisis, crediting the power of federal dollars for speeding its completion. Allentown (PA) Mayor Matt Tuerk described the challenges of getting EMS to encampments that lack addresses or clear trails.

Earlier in the day, mayors launched the Conference’s new CHIPS Implementation Task Force. Committee chair Boise (ID) Mayor Lauren Mclean led the task force’s first session, where Cynthia Aragon, director of Intergovernmental Affairs for the U.S. Commerce Department’s CHIPS for America program, provided an overview of the CHIPS and Science Act. “As the President would say, CHIPS shows we can do anything when we work together. I think it’s a great example of what we as a nation can accomplish together,” said Aragon. Phoenix (AZ) Mayor Kate Gallego responded, “With investments like CHIPS, now is the time to put more money locally and with mayors who are seeing this on the ground in a very real way. So we welcome your help with that.”

During the Preventing and Reducing Gun Violence session, mayors were joined by leaders from the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Kansas City Police Department for a discussion of the progress cities have made in reducing violent crime and gun violence, and how they are working with mayors to continue implementing programs that will have a positive impact on their communities. “We’ve heard from mayors, we’ve heard from all of you,” said session moderator Kansas City (MO) Mayor Quinton Lucas. “At times, we’ve had debates, strong disputes, crowded rooms. But in the end we always work to come to good solutions to help us make our streets safer.”

The LGBTQ+ Alliance hosted one of the closing sessions, Developing an LGBTQ+ Inclusive City. Led by Madison (WI) Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and San Diego (CA) Mayor Todd Gloria, the discussion focused on how to build more inclusive cities. On facing anti-LGBTQ+ pushback, USCM CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran said, “We can’t be quiet…we appreciate all of your leadership. I’m going to be there with this organization, 100 percent.” Attending mayors and speakers also discussed the results and best practices revealed in an 83-city survey of how mayors are building inclusive cities by supporting and involving LGBTQ+ residents. “We’re going to be partnering with the Conference of Mayors, specifically putting together a toolkit so that folks who are interested in working on these issues in your city have some really concrete steps that you can take,” said Cathryn Oakley, senior director of legal policy at Human Rights Campaign.

The Annual Meeting concludes tomorrow with votes by the mayors on the next leaders of the Conference and the policy priorities for the year ahead.