As the new President of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, it is truly an honor to work with and represent you. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know.
The smiles and the comradery were so evident during CityVision 2022 in Wilmington. After two years of having to meet remotely, it was great to be back together, in person, and see everyone engaged and truly enjoying the programming and networking opportunities of the conference. I want to thank staff and our host city for making our conference one to remember!
In my inaugural speech, I stated that Kings Mountain was the greatest city in North Carolina, and I believe that wholeheartedly. I am positive that you feel the same way about your city or town, as you wouldn’t have taken the time to attend the conference and be involved with NCLM if you thought differently. This was a great opportunity to learn from one another and bring back the education and shared experiences to our homes in the form of ideas that can make our cities and towns even better.
If we have learned anything over the past two years, it is that we are resilient, as despite the many challenges, it has been a fruitful time for us. It’s due to the leadership shown by you, the elected representatives and staff members of the towns and cities of North Carolina. It is amazing to see how we’ve endured and worked together.
The N.C. League of Municipalities has also faced adversity during the past two years. The staff and leadership of the League were forced to work and meet remotely while dealing with the same health and communication challenges as the larger society. Additionally, they have been faced with assisting cities and towns with revenue and policy challenges created by COVID-19 and its economic fallout. The League staff have been a great foundation for us, and they have proven to be successful even as we have struggled through these unprecedented times.
The organization worked with members of Congress and the state legislature to receive direct and indirect appropriations from American Rescue Plan funding to address the economic needs created by the pandemic and to make transformational infrastructure and other investments that will improve services and the quality of life for our residents for years to come. I am excited to see the results of those investments as those relationships come to fruition in the next year and in the future.
This past year and in previous years, tremendous progress has been made in helping state leaders understand the importance of local flexibility and local decision-making. That was evident in 2021 as we beat back harmful land-use proposals at the General Assembly.
As President of the League this year, I am committed to strengthening our relationship with the General Assembly and working together for our common good. Always protecting local decision-making that fits each individual community. This is especially important as many areas continue to grow and develop, and local officials act to balance the different interests—from existing homeowners to new homeowners, to businesses that require affordable housing for their workforces, and to everyone affected by local economies.
I will also be a champion for local broadband solutions. We must ensure that all towns can eventually have access to world-class broadband. I believe we will make progress over the coming year so that cities and towns can have a larger role in building this vital infrastructure.
Lastly, I am also confident that we will continue making progress on a new NCLM building. Our building campus is in vibrant downtown Raleigh, and that offers opportunity and can project us forward for decades.
Just like no one could foresee the COVID-19 pandemic, I know that there will be unforeseen challenges that arise in the year ahead. I have confidence in our abilities and resiliency to work together to address them.
I am thankful for everyone’s support as I begin this term as NCLM President and know that your help will allow us to keep up the great momentum that was started at CityVision! It’s going to be a great year as we have fun making our cities and towns even better and in turn making our state the very best it can be for years to come!