Moscow Mayor Nancy Chaney and Council Members Walter Steed and Tom Lamar joined more than 1,600 fellow local leaders in Washington, DC to promote the need for keeping the tax exemption for municipal bonds, ending the online sales tax ‘break,’ and supporting comprehensive immigration reform, during the National League of Cities (NLC) 2013 Congressional City Conference, March 9-12. The conference is NLC’s annual legislative meeting which provides city leaders the opportunity to discuss how federal policy issues impact local communities with top Congressional and Administration leaders.
Attendees participated in workshops and general sessions that highlighted other top city issues including economic development, gun violence, transportation and infrastructure and education reform.
While in Washington, Mayor Chaney and Council Members, Steed, and Lamar met with Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and James Risch and Congressman Raul Labrador to discuss the importance of retaining funding for local bus service and transportation infrastructure; support for the Pullman-Moscow Airport expansion; healthcare funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers such as the Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS) clinic expected to open in Moscow this spring; and retaining USDA resources for the summer food service program, school backpack program, food hubs and farmers’ markets. Mayor Chaney also met with USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss the value of such programs that enhance access to wholesome local foods and fitness programs like Let’s Move! in Moscow, and integrating human health, animal health, and ecological health in research and policy through the One Health initiative.
In addition, the Mayor met with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Department of Transportation Joanna Turner, to follow-up on previous communications with Secretary Ray LaHood about preserving funding for bicycle-pedestrian projects, mitigating off-site impacts of increased industrial traffic from expansion of the Port of Lewiston and U.S. Highway 95 Thorncreek to Moscow, and concerns over the Idaho Legislature’s efforts to allow 129,000-pound trucks in downtown Moscow.
Mayor Chaney addressed NLC’s University Communities Council, and featured Moscow-based BioTracking, LLC, in a presentation that highlighted the value of University of Idaho research in biomedical business development. She was also part of a well-attended panel discussion about gun violence and firearms regulation. Other panelists included the mayors of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Aurora, Colorado, and a legal expert from NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s office and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Council Member Lamar was appointed to NLC’s Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee, responsible for developing policy positions on issues involving air quality, water quality, energy policy, national wetlands policy, noise control, and solid and hazardous waste management.
As part of the conference, delegates heard from Vice President Joe Biden; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey; Agriculture Secretary Vilsack; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan; Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano; Senator John McCain (R-AZ); and pollster Frank Luntz.
"With the current policy debates underway in Washington, this is a critical time for local leaders to come together to be heard on the issues that matter to cities," said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, Mayor of Avondale, Arizona. "Now more than ever, city leaders must be engaged and be vocal advocates on municipal policy priorities. NLC delivered forceful messages to Congress this week: fix the broken immigration system, end the online sales tax break, and protect municipal bonds."
The Congressional City Conference offers local officials opportunities to find ways federal resources can help grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the foundation of our cities and towns.
Mayor Chaney welcomed first-time conference attendees at an orientation session. “I was encouraged that this conference attracted so many officials from small communities with populations of 6,000, 10,000, 12,000 people. It reinforced the idea that NLC offers a strong collective voice for all of us--especially in times of tight budgets--and represents the breadth of wide-ranging political persuasions,” she said.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
For more information, please contact Jen Pfiffner, Assistant to the City Supervisor at 208.883.7123 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.