League Staff and Members Headed to D.C. to Fight for Michigan Communities

Posted on March 1, 2019 by Dene Westbrook

The Michigan delegation meets with U.S. Senator Gary Peters during the 2018 Congressional Cities Conference.

A large Michigan contingent of city leaders is headed to Washington D.C. later this month for the annual Congressional City Conference put on by the National League of Cities.

Michigan Municipal League staff will assist the Michigan contingent, including the presidents of the League’s five affiliate organizations, in D.C. by arranging meetings with members of Congress and their staff, the White House Intergovernmental Affairs office, as well as other key decision-makers. They will be in D.C. for the annual NLC Congressional City Conference, March 10-13.

The Michigan contingent also will attend numerous education sessions and have opportunities to network and learn from other city leaders throughout the nation. Education sessions planned at the Conference include leading through disruption, advancing racial equity in local government, community and economic development, data-driven government, rules and tools for the ethical leader, a forum on ending veteran homelessness, civil engagement, affordable housing, holistically managing water infrastructure, opportunity zones, leadership in the face of opioid addiction, U.S. Supreme Court and Lower Court decisions impacting cities, and much more.

The Michigan delegation meets with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow during the 2018 Congressional Cities Conference.

“Every year we go to D.C. is important, but this year brings a renewed sense of promise that true change, particularly in the area of infrastructure funding and support for communities, is within reach,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director of the League. “We will do our best to represent Michigan and fight for all our Michigan communities.”

In recent years, the presidents of the League’s five affiliate organizations have attended this conference to show their support and represent their groups. The five presidents are expected to attend again this year. The five affiliate organizations are the Michigan Municipal Executives, the Michigan Association of Mayors, the Michigan Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials, Michigan Women in Municipal Government, and the Michigan Association of Municipal Attorneys. League staff accompanying the Michigan delegation include Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director; Chris Hackbarth, director of state and federal affairs; John LaMacchia, assistant director of state and federal affairs; Kelly Warren, director of membership and affiliate engagement; and Luke Forrest, director of civic innovations.

Dan Gilmartin with members of the NLC’s task force on housing during its January, 2019, meeting.

As part of the Conference, Gilmartin will participate in a Housing Task Force meeting. Gilmartin was appointed to the NLC’s task force on housing by Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Ind. The task is comprised of 23 individuals from across the country, among them the mayors of Miami, Charlotte, Oakland and San Antonio as well as council members from Denver, Baltimore, Peoria and Seattle. Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington, DC is the chairperson. In a bit of irony the first convening was January  in Washington at a time that the federal government was shut down. Read a blog about Gilmartin’s housing task force work here.

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