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3-20-13, Cities converge on our nation’s capital:

Highlights from the 2013 NLC Congressional City Conference

AWC CEO Mike McCarty, Director of Government Relations Dave Williams and more than 60 City elected leaders from across the state joined 1,600 fellow local leaders in Washington, D.C. last week to promote the need for comprehensive immigration reform, keep the tax exemption for municipal bonds, and end the online sales tax ‘break.’ The National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City 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 of the 2013 conference 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, members of the Washington State Delegation met with members of the state’s congressional delegation, including a group meeting with Senators Murray and Cantwell, to discuss the marketplace fairness act, continued funding for transportation and infrastructure, and protecting the tax exempt status of municipal bonds.

“Learning firsthand about federal issues that impact all Washington cities as well as the opportunity to meet with our Senators and Representatives makes this trip an invaluable investment in all of our cities and towns,” said Don Gerend, President of the Association of Washington Cities and City of Sammamish Councilmember.

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 Tom 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, Avondale, AZ. "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 our economy, create jobs, and strengthen the foundation of our cities and towns.

The Association of Washington Cities represents all cities and towns in Washington and is proud to partner with the National League of Cities in 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.