Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Licata selected to advance progressive vision for America's cities and towns
New coalition of municipal leaders is founded to create a more fair and just society
SEATTLE - Seattle City Councilmember Nick Licata was selected as the Chair of a new organization, Local Progress: a national municipal policy network, formed over the weekend in Washington D.C. Local Progress will be dedicated to advancing innovative legislative strategies in America's cities and towns.
Councilmember Licata was joined by 41 other officials from 32 towns and large cities, including three other Washington State municipal officials: Greg Taylor from Renton, Ryan Mello from Tacoma and De'Sean Quinn from Tukwila.
"Local Progress will allow, for the first time, a real network to exist between municipal officials who wish to adopt legislation passed in other communities that have addressed the needs of average working people, like establishing paid sick leave legislation," said Councilmember Licata, in response to being selected to head Local Progress.
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.
Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union, kicked off the weekend meeting Friday night saying that SEIU is committed to improving the lives of working families.
Jay Williams, the former Mayor of Youngstown, Ohio and now White House Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Relations spoke to the group on Saturday and emphasized how President Obama's next term will be addressing many of the issues that municipalities are concerned with.
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."
The legislators spoke optimistically about their vision for the coming decades. "A broad coalition of voters sent a powerful message on election day," said Faith Winter, Mayor Pro Tem of Westminster, CO.
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 Licata, "And we're off to an amazing start."
The Founding Board of Local Progress includes:
Nick Licata, Seattle (WA) City Council - CHAIR
Wilson Goode Jr., Philadelphia (PA) City Council
Brad Lander, New York (NY) City Council
Chuck Lesnick, Yonkers (NY) City Council
Joe Moore, Chicago (IL) City Council
Julia Ross, St. Louis Park (MN) City Council
Faith Winter, Westminster (CO) City Council
The board also includes two core partner non-profit advocacy organizations: the Public Leadership Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy.
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