An Eye Opening Experience at the National League of Cities


Photo Credit: Rene Almanza

Rene Almanza, OwlFeed Managing Sports Editor

The week after spring break I was given the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., to attend the National League of Cities Conference. The conference provided me with great insight on how the country works, which is built on moving pieces and engaging throughout the week.

One slogan that stood out to me as I walked through the conference hall that encapsulates the entire event was “comprised of city, town and village leaders that are focused on improving the quality of life for their current and future constituents.”

Staying at the Marriott Marquis for the first couple of days, we went off to the convention center where the events took place, with other rooms dedicated to separate activities like youth leadership and how to make a positive impact within our community.

The first day of the conference was the most interesting aspect of the entire week as the President spoke and other leaders took the time to speak to us.

The NLC Board of Directors were able to meet and speak with Mayor Andriy Sadoovyi of Lviv, Ukraine. He said, “It is contingent on all of us for what the world will look like in the future. If the American cities and mayors stand squarely with us, we will be able to accelerate our victory.”

With the vibrant lights and the now inspired crowd cheering for the mayor enabled us to encourage those help out by any means necessary, one of the key themes of the conference was to take an active role in whatever side of the spectrum you’re in. 

Details that were repeated throughout the conference was the importance of democracy. Without these core values of government we wouldn’t be here today, rather we’d be subjected to what the government deems right.

“We cannot watch what we saw going on in Ukraine, a threat to democracy anywhere is a threat to democracy everywhere,” said Michael B. Hancock, the mayor of Denver. “In 2022, 27 states passed restrictive voting laws. We cannot afford to go back. Too many people died for this right for us to go back, and we can’t just sit back and let it happen.”

Expressing and evaluating these ideas for the betterment of the people of the United States has been the cornerstone of democracy. To be able to see in-person was extraordinary as well. You get this feeling of charisma, passion and dedication to the cause that encouraged me throughout the conference.  

With the first day almost done we were assigned to a different convention room, where President Biden came along on stage.

His main focus throughout his speech is the intention to rebuild American communities everywhere, may it be cities, suburban or rural areas. 

“You understand what families are up against,” President Biden said. “You understand the cost if we fail to act. We need the voice of local officials, who understand what your communities need. Your senators and congresspersons will listen to you all. If you can get this done, there is no limit to what America can achieve. So, let’s give working people the quality of life they deserve.”

This experience was thought provoking. I was unable to fully comprehend the many ideas that were presented throughout the conference, however, I came across one conclusion which is this: the pure authenticity and charm from the people I met were genuine and compassionate all around.