While Americans look to Washington and see chaos and dysfunction reigning across our country, cities in urban, suburban, and rural communities are thriving and remain our greatest laboratory for economic growth, innovative public policy, and results-oriented government. In fact, the economic power of our metropolitan regions is driving our nation forward, and this must be recognized and strengthened if we are going to continue to compete in a global economy. From our largest cities and suburban areas to our smallest rural towns, mayors don’t just talk and debate, they provide safer, stronger, healthier, and more inclusive communities. Successful mayors combine real results and transformative vision – delivered in real time. That’s leadership.
As an organization, The U.S. Conference of Mayors represents 1,409 communities throughout America, from towns of 30,000 to cities with millions of residents. In every city, parents, police officers, teachers, small business owners and employees, factory workers, health care providers, service employees, laborers, and millions of working families are looking to our elected leaders to focus on their priorities and produce programs and policies that help secure their future. Unfortunately, what Americans are seeing in Washington isn’t leadership or results for our local communities.
Too many in Washington have lost touch with the reality of life for people who live and work in our cities and the connected suburbs and rural areas that surround them.
Mayors, on the other hand, govern day to day, with a focus on delivery guided by transformation and common sense alike that impacts real life and pocketbook issues. And the proof is in the results. Year after year, mayors balance budgets and ensure the effectiveness of the basic government services they deliver each day. Mayors build partnerships, work beyond partisan divides, and work across sectors to find new solutions, remove barriers, and develop innovative responses to challenges of the day.
Mayors share the frustration of the American people with the inability of our leaders in Washington to tackle today’s biggest challenges. We want our partners in Washington to work with us to make our country safer, stronger, and more focused. In short, Washington could learn a thing or two from American mayors of all regions and all parties. With millions of Americans starved for leadership, they should look past Washington and instead focus on what’s happening outside their kitchen windows.
We have an agenda for America’s future that prioritizes community safety, recognizes taxpayer investment that will produce results that matter, and restores hope for families who want everyone in America to do better.
Mitchell J. Landrieu
Mayor of New Orleans