With much appreciation to Jamie Brown, with the Mayor’s office in Raleigh, below is the speech I gave at the press conference during the spring Metro Mayors Coalition meeting on Wednesday, April 29th, 2015:
Good afternoon – thank you for joining us today.
Today, members of the Metro Mayor Coalition gathered here in our Capital City to discuss issues that are important to the State of North Carolina. Coalition members have been closely following this year’s legislative session as a number of bills have the potential to greatly impact municipalities across the state.
Today’s meeting served multiple purposes;
– first in allowing our organization an opportunity to share information with each other and legislators in both the Senate and House related to bills impacting our cities;
– second in further building upon the relationships with legislators that we’ve actively been developing throughout the Session; and
– third, in having a presence in the General Assembly to help reiterate our message that Coalition members are here as a resource to work with legislators in helping to address municipal issues and concerns that will help improve and strengthen the economic vitality and well-being of the entire state.
I think mayors, not only in the Coalition but across the state believe that local municipal leaders often have their hand on the pulse of the community and are in a position to best communicate the needs and desires of their constituency. It is in that belief that the Metro Mayors Coalition has actively tried to make themselves available to the General Assembly this session. We’ve done that by implementing a Weekly Mayor program, ensuring that at least one member mayor visits the General Assembly each week to meet with legislators with a focus on job creation and economic growth for the whole state. We’ve also worked to make ourselves available to our local delegations and other legislative leaders to act as an information resource on key issues of importance to the Coalition (transportation, economic development, local revenue sources, job creation, etc…). We feel and hope that legislators agree that we’ve developed strong working relationships built on trust and mutual respect.
I’d like to thank our speakers from today’s meeting for sharing their insights, being so open to our questions, and engaging in honest dialogue about municipal issues facing our state. I would also like to thank Governor McCrory for allowing the Metro Mayors Coalition to host our first legislative reception at the Governor’s mansion this evening, which offers us another wonderful opportunity to develop and strengthen relationships. While we may not always agree, informed decision making is the key to developing good policy and the Metro Mayors appreciate the opportunity to share information and have a voice at the table.