Monday, November 19, 2012

Local Progress: A National Municipal Policy Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      November 19, 2012                                                             Contact Benjamin Linsley: (347) 985-2374


New coalition of municipal leaders is founded to advance a
progressive vision for America’s cities and towns

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the heels of a historic election, City of Cleveland Councilmember Brian Cummins traveled to the nation’s capital this past weekend to learn about innovative ways that elected officials around the country are strengthening their local economies and providing better public services to their constituents.

Councilman Cummins joined more than 40 other officials from over 30 small towns and large cities representing 20 States to participate in the founding of Local Progress, a new national municipal policy network dedicated to
“broadly-shared prosperity, equal justice under law, sustainable and livable cities, and good government that serves the public interest effectively.”

“I had a busy weekend meeting some very committed public servants and some policy experts from around the country,” Cummins said. “I’m excited to be a founding member of this new network of progressive local leaders which I know will help me in Cleveland develop a more strategic legislative agenda.

Participants began the gathering by discussing ways to rejuvenate the economy through the creation of good, middle class jobs. “We kicked it off with lively presentations about how cities can foster smart economic growth,” said Wilson Goode Jr.,
the Philadelphia City Councilman who led the conversation.  “Everyone agreed that we have to build an economy where workers are paid a living wage with adequate benefits, sick leave, and the security they need to support their families.”

The elected officials discussed ways in which cities can make government services more accessible for immigrants, create green jobs and vibrant livable neighborhoods, empower community residents to participate in city budgeting decisions, and support parents by strengthening schools and making work rules more flexible.

The attendees said they planned to continue sharing best practices online and in person over the coming months and years. “We’re building a movement for a more fair and just society,” said Nick Licata, the Seattle City Councilmember who is chairing the Local Progress network. “And we’re off to an amazing start.”

Local Progress includes two core partner non-profit advocacy organizations: the Public Leadership Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy.

Local Progress founding conference held November 16 - 18, 2012:

L-R: City Councilmembers - David Alvarez (San Diego, CA), Nick Licata 
(Seattle, WA) and Brad Lander (New york, NY)

L-R: City Councilmembers: David Chiu, (San Francisco, CA), Chuck Lesnick 
(Yonkers, NY), Brian Cummins (Cleveland, OH), and Bill Henry (Baltimore MD).
Progressive States Network & Local Progress reception held Friday evening -
Marcus Madison (Councilmember, Elyria, OH) (left) and Dan Ramos
(Rep. House Dist. 56, Lorain, OH).

Summary of Agenda and Speakers,
Local Progress founding conference held 11/16-18/2012:

  • Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
  • Policy Panel I, Economic justice:  discussion of policies cities can adopt to create and improve the quality of jobs (living wage laws, paid sick days, green jobs, and community benefit agreements).
  • Policy panel II, Strengthening neighborhoods:  discussion of policies cities can adopt to create livable neighborhoods? A discussion of safe and affordable housing, foreclosure accountability from banks, and transportation policy.
  • Jay Williams, White House Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Relations.
  • Policy panel III, Civil rights and immigrant rights:  How can cities ensure that all residents are treated equally and lawfully? A discussion of policies that affect immigrants and people of color.
  • Organizational development discussion and official formation of Local Progress.
  • Voicing Our Values - Message Framing for Progressive Elected Officials : The coauthors of the book Voicing Our Values: A Message Guide for Candidates will offer a highly interactive workshop on research-based language that progressives should use to address a wide range of domestic issues, including highly-controversial matters like abortion, same-sex marriage, immigration, gun control, and voter ID.  See the Policy Resources and sign up for the Message Guide.
  • Joel Rogers, Director of Center on Wisconsin Strategy, who will provide an overview of his work (COWS, Efficiency Cities Network, State Smart transportation Initiative) and demonstrate a brand-new resource for local elected officials,