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Member input during 15-city tour sets stage for future vision 

During the month of April, League Executive Director Paul Meyer and Grassroots Coordinator Vickie Miller traveled the state to get member feedback and ideas for the future of North Carolina.

The tour stopped in 15 cities with stops along the way for media visits and meetings with other elected officials. Nearly 500 members joined Meyer and Miller for these breakfast or dinner meetings and shared stories from their hometowns.

“What really stood out to me is that although some things are unique to certain cities, there are a lot of similarities,” Miller said. “Issues can be more or less pressing depending on each community but it was a good reminder that we’re more alike than different.”

The changing political and demographic landscapes in North Carolina created a need to deliberately chart a path for cities and towns, so last August, the League’s Board of Directors started a strategic visioning process to author a future vision for the role, purpose and function of municipal government.

The UNC School of Government is the League’s partner in this process and facilitated visioning workshops at some of the Listening and Visioning Tour meetings to obtain feedback on possible scenarios they are developing based on what they have learned so far.

This is the first time the League’s Executive Director has hosted a tour like this aimed at providing more  than traditional legislative updates.

“The input gathered and stories told are essential to the future of our organization,” Meyer said. “The tour was structured so every League member was no more than 45 minutes away from an event.”

The League’s Listening and Visioning Tour findings and the School of Government’s research are expected to be synthesized and presented to the League’s Board of Directors later this summer.

The tour is a small piece of the League’s comprehensive grassroots program. The program, League LINC, is designed to engage League members and their communities in legislative advocacy in a way that gains strength through unity and provides value through relationships.

League LINC’s largest event is Town Hall Day, which is held annually in March or June depending on legislative schedules, where hundreds of members come to Raleigh for a day of lobbying. On a smaller scale, the League also hosts lobby days for its policy development groups, the Legislative Action Committees.

The committees are responsible for studying, debating, prioritizing and making recommendations  concerning Core Municipal Principles, the Municipal Advocacy Goals and the League positions on legislation. About 45 elected officials and municipal staff members serve on each committee.

Committee members came to Raleigh on May 12 and 13 to lobby on pending legislation like SB 369 and 608 relating to sales tax distribution that could shift the control of billions from local governments to the state.

Members’ relationships with legislators are crucial in protecting municipal interests and achieving the advocacy goals set at the goals conference in December 2014. League LINC helps the League record your relationships with legislators for easy access when calls or visits are urgently needed.

To stay up-to-date on legislation and help the League’s governmental affairs team be as successful as possible, sign up for League LINC by clicking here.

When you sign up for League LINC, you’ll receive weekly updates and Action Alerts for hot-button issues, and have easy access to the League’s bill tracking tool.

If you would like to provide feedback or learn more about the League’s grassroots efforts, please contact Vickie Miller at 919-715-8835 or vmiller@nclm.org.