The United States Conference of Mayors was born out of the Great Depression. It was in 1932 that Detroit Mayor Frank Murphy invited the nation’s mayors to his city to confront common problems caused by this dark time in our history. Twenty-nine mayors gathered and, together, they called for Congress to provide relief, which Congress and the White House passed. That first meeting galvanized the mayors to formalize their conference, and in February 1933 they did so in Washington, D.C. As it is today, the Conference continues to be a leading voice of cities in our nation’s capital.
Throughout our history, it is the nation’s mayors to whom people look for leadership. We were early leaders in the civil rights movement, so much so, that John F. Kennedy introduced the pillars of the Civil Rights Act at our Annual Meeting, shortly before he was assassinated. When the U.S. withdrew from the Kyoto Protocols, we organized mayors to call for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to pre-1990 levels. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our country, it was the leadership of the Conference that worked to secure $65.1 billion for all cities through the American Rescue Plan.
There are numerous other Conference milestones such as these, but it’s where we are today, and going tomorrow, that matters most. The Conference is a strong forum for you—and all mayors—to advocate for the needs of your citizens and government. It’s where you can share ideas with other mayors and learn about the best practices and policies being implemented to help move our country forward.
Perhaps the most extraordinary thing about the Conference is that we are a completely non-partisan organization in a city where partisanship and gridlock dominate more than ever. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents come together to get things done. Mayors of large cities, small cities, center cities, and suburbs work side-by-side to solve, improve, create, and effect positive change.
We sincerely hope you will be one of them, and we invite you to join us on this wonderfully gratifying journey we’ve been on for nearly 90 years.