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Speaking Out: Strength in Numbers 

by League President and Burlington Mayor Ronnie Wall

One other the most critical ways to bring change at the general assembly is to show up and make our voices heard. We did that on both the federal and local levels in March. First in Washington, D.C. and then in Raleigh at Town Hall Day!

At Town Hall Day on March 18, municipal officials from across the state came to Raleigh for the League’s largest legislative lobbying day. Once all was said and done, 408 municipal officials participated in the day’s events. That evening, we were joined by 54 legislators at our closing reception. Also, joining us there were three cabinet secretaries and two Court of Appeals judges.

Earlier in the day, both President Pro Tempore Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Tim Moore address our group. In addition to legislators, Governor Pat McCrory, NC Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz also joined us.

I want to thank each of your for taking the time to come to Raleigh and advocate for municipal interests. I spoke to several of you throughout the day, and I know that many of us had good conversations with our state representatives. We were able to show that we are united in pursuing policies that benefit residents of North Carolina’s municipalities.

During Town Hall Day, attendees will meet one-on-one with their General Assembly representatives and attend both House and Senate sessions. In addition, Senate will speak to members in the afternoon.

As I said during Town Hall day, there are many challenges ahead and there is legislation out there that would be damaging to our interests. But we are seeing progress. We can see this through the conversations and efforts to shore up transportation funding.

Right before Town Hall Day we also had a good trip to Washington, D.C. for the National League of Cities Congressional Cities Conference. More than 100 North Carolinians attended and spent time focusing on federal issue affecting the state and advocating with our United States Senate and House representatives.

March was a good month of solid lobbying for North Carolina’s municipal interests.

My challenge to each of you now is that we do not let this momentum end with the Congressional Cities Conference and Town Hall Day.

Federally, we have to keep our representatives in Congress engaged in North Carolina’s politics and help them understand how national decisions affect the state as a whole and our cities.

On the local front, I’ve spoken before about the need to maintain relationships with legislators throughout the year – both while they are in Raleigh and when they return to their home districts. We have to make sure that our state officials understand how their decisions in Raleigh relate to us back on our hometowns.

We will not always agree with the general assembly. But we must continue to focus on the ways that municipal government partners with state government. We both deliver services that enhance the quality of life for residents. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal: a thriving state.