The National League of Cities and the United States Conference of Mayors both released their 2020 policy agendas hoping to urge presidential candidates to have more of a city-centered focus heading into next November’s election.
As noted in the Conference of Mayors report, cities represent 86 percent of the population and 91 percent of the real GDP.
Infrastructure topped both lists. The NLC is calling for more investment into sustainable infrastructure that can support “a stronger economy and withstand extreme weather events.” In that they call for partnerships with local entities to rebuild and fully fund the nation’s transportation networks. They also call for investments to make sure that broadband service, including in small and rural communities, is reliable, accessible, and affordable.
Building a Skilled Workforce is also an area the groups are seeking more attention for. They’re calling for increased awareness for apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programs to lower the barriers of employment for many workers. They also want Pell Grants and other financial aid to cover skills-training programs including short-term, certificate programs.
Housing and Homelessness are two issues that they say undermine economic success at all levels. Federal funding streams for mental health, drug treatment, and other emergency services are required, according to NLC and to prevent homelessness, they want wraparound services, emergency assistance, and crisis intervention for at-risk individuals and families.
The groups of mayors are drawing attention to these issues ahead of the 2020 election as they feel cities have long been overlooked by presidential and congressional candidates. “Cities bring people together, drive economic growth, create culture and spur innovation. They are the center of American life,” wrote the report from the Conference of Mayors.