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Over 170 Alabama municipal officials attend National League of Cities Conference

The organization is dedicated to helping municipal leaders build better communities.

Alabama League of Municipalities
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More than 170 Alabama League of Municipalities’ (ALM) mayors, councilmembers and their staff attended the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference in Washington, D.C. on March 9-13. The conference brought together over 2,500 elected and appointed city, town and village leaders from around the United States to focus on federal policy issues important to local governments. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the nonpartisan organization, which is dedicated to helping municipal leaders build better communities.

Local leaders from across the country are tackling some of the toughest issues of our time. The Congressional City Conference provides an opportunity for local officials to learn from federal leaders, policy experts and fellow local leaders as well as hear from and connect with experts on a variety of topics including infrastructure, climate resilience and sustainability, workforce development, affordable housing, public safety, railroad safety and nutrition.

This past November, Birmingham City Councilman Darrell O’Quinn was re-elected to serve on NLC’s national board of directors. During this week’s conference, he played a special role with contributing to important discussions and attending various meetings.

“In addition to the invaluable conversations and intensive meetings regarding municipal government practices, the National League of Cities’ conference allows us the opportunity to interface with our congressional leadership to discuss the priorities that will help Birmingham and ALM continue to move forward,” O’Quinn said. “Perhaps the most important topic that we discussed this year was the Bipartisan Railway Safety Act. This bill has the potential to protect and benefit every single American living near a rail line by increasing regulations and appropriating federal funds to install more safety features in places like Birmingham. I feel as though collectively we were able to make a lot of progress on this issue, especially considering the overwhelming support this bill has from local elected officials from all over the country.”

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall took center stage on Monday afternoon by speaking on a panel with Donald Mason, mayor of Zanesville, OH, and Mark Hayes, executive director of the Arkansas Municipal League. The discussion focused on litigation settlements with major opioid pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturing companies, and the impact the opioid crisis has had on municipalities in America. ALM and Attorney General Marshall’s office have been working together to ensure that Alabama’s municipal leaders are taking advantage of more than $800 million in opioid settlements.

“Alabama’s first-in-the-nation approach to individually taking legal action against opioid distributors and manufacturers allowed the state to directly address the devastating impacts of the epidemic in our own backyard,” Attorney General Marshall said. “As a result, the state of Alabama’s settlement amounts have been markedly higher than those states involved in the national settlement agreement. These funds present a historic opportunity to alleviate the damage that opioid abuse caused in our communities.”

ALM’s president, Hartselle Mayor Randy Garrison, attended the conference for his third time.

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“The sessions were great this year, especially the opioid panel, and the excitement that they shared about growth and improving the areas we live in. I am able to glean from others about new ideas and programs that work for their cities and towns that we may have not put into our processes or plans,” Garrison said. “I believe NLC works to unite cities and towns, and I am grateful that they advocate on the federal level for all our members.”

ALM hosted Alabama-specific meetings during the national conference that were aimed at providing the state’s municipal leaders with state and federal updates along with resources and networking opportunities. Several members of Alabama’s congressional delegation met with members on Monday evening, including Rep. Robert Aderholt, Rep. Jerry Carl, Rep. Barry Moore, Rep. Mike Rogers and Rep. Terri Sewell. U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville and U.S. Sen. Katie Britt addressed the attendees at a breakfast on Tuesday.

Members also had an opportunity to hear keynote speeches from President Joe Biden, several of his cabinet members and high-ranking staffers, members of Congress and federal agency representatives. Furthermore, some of ALM’s members participated in NLC’s Hill Day program on Wednesday to meet with members of Congress directly at their offices on Capitol Hill.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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