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League of California Cities
Home > News > News Articles > 2020 > March > California City Leaders attend NLC Congressional City Conference
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California City Leaders attend NLC Congressional City Conference

March 18, 2020
Thousands of local officials, partners, and municipal staff left a resounding message of strength in our nation’s capital last week for the 55th annual National League of Cities Congressional City Conference.
America’s largest legislative conference for local leaders included important policy discussions, engaging general session speakers, collaborative networking opportunities, and a spotlight on the power of cities. League of California Cities President John F. Dunbar, First Vice President Cheryl Viegas Walker, Second Vice President Cindy Silva, Immediate Past President Jan Arbuckle, and League Executive Director Carolyn Coleman led the California delegation of more than a hundred local leaders, along with Joe Buscaino, the NLC president, League of California Cities board member, and Los Angeles city council member.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Spearheads Conversations at the Congressional City Conference
With concerns increasing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NLC prioritized programming, resources, and precautionary measures on-site at this year’s conference. NLC also provided real-time updates and resources for attendees to take back to their cities, towns, and villages. 

“California’s city leaders are working around the clock to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their residents,” said Coleman. “Now, more than ever, a productive local-federal partnership is vital as we navigate this public healthy emergency.”

On March 10, NLC hosted an important town hall moderated by Lindsey Horvath, mayor pro tem of West Hollywood and chair of NLC’s Human Development Committee. Horvath’s guest, Dr. Oscar Alleyne, chief of Programs and Services at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) gave a detailed situational summary of COVID-19 and an overview of best practices in public safety and preparing your home, schools, and local communities. Dr. Alleyne’s presentation is available online.

Chief Medical Officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Mitchell Wolfe provided a high-level breakdown to city leaders of coronavirus symptoms, preventions, and recommended responses.

“We have engaged with state and local partners on a very regular basis and we’re always looking for opportunities to do more,” Dr. Wolfe said. “I highly encourage everyone to work with their local health department.”

League Officers joined members of NLC’s Board of Directors in a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at the end of the conference to discuss the local-federal partnership needed to address the coronavirus pandemic.

“We discussed the critical coordination needed to respond to the coronavirus public health emergency and protect the health and well-being of our residents,” said Buscaino. “There are a number of issues we can work on together to serve our cities, towns, and villages, and I look forward to productive communication and partnership in the coming weeks.”

For city-focused coronavirus resources and information, please visit or The webpages are updated regularly.

NLC Congressional City Conference Concluded Atop Capitol Hill with Advocacy Day
Capitol Hill Advocacy Day was the culmination of all the calls to action during NLC’s conference and was a huge success, reaffirming that local and federal officials must lead together and with urgency during these unprecedented times. 

California’s delegation joined 363 participating local officials across 39 states to meet with congressional members and staff throughout the day. California League leaders discussed the League’s 2020 Strategic Priorities and advocated for increased funding for critical grant programs for cities to support housing, transportation, and infrastructure investments. The League’s leadership shared these priorities with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Anna Eshoo, Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, Rep. Mike Thompson, and Rep. Judy Chu.  

“The recent global events show how important it is for collaboration and communication across all levels of government,” said President Dunbar. “Advocacy Day is an important opportunity for local governments to share the ways in which we can partner with Congress on our shared goals for improving the quality of life for those who live, work, and raise families in California communities.”

The local government temporary takeover of Capitol Hill was a success. Overall, 172 members of Congress across key committees listened to the concerns of their constituents and committed to working together.   
Pictures from the advocacy trip are available on the League’s Twitter page.

© League of California Cities