If there are two events that best sum up the NC League of Municipalities, they are CityVision and the Town & State Dinner. Combined, these occasions encapsulate NCLM’s mission of supporting, convening and advancing our member cities and towns.
Both featured in this issue, these gatherings are flagship League events. We are fresh off of our fifth Town & State Dinner, which hosted more than 400 local leaders and 100 state legislators. Meeting over a meal in downtown Raleigh, the Town & State Dinner provides an opportunity for our municipal elected and appointed officials to meet and have conversations with their state lawmakers, and it is hard to overstate the importance of these relationships. When local and state leaders discuss issues, develop ideas, and meet problems together, the entire state benefits.
Later this spring, we will host CityVision in beautiful Concord, North Carolina. And if its anything like last year’s edition in Wilmington, we’ll be in for another week of education, engagement and excitement. CityVision also welcomes hundreds of local officials, and through a packed agenda of programming, keynotes, local excursions, and networking time, we are able to connect our vast and diverse membership where it is most important: in person.
It is that element that gets at the core value of these events. Our membership is comprised of the large and small, the mountainous and the coastal, and the urban and the rural, and the needs across our municipalities are just as varied. There are themes, though, that connect us. These include a public-service mindset, a willingness to serve one’s community, and an outlook towards the future that blends both the optimistic and the pragmatic. It is vital to get together to remember these strengths that unite us.
Throughout my time at the League, I have witnessed countless successes. I have seen our cities and towns earn critical legislative achievements at the General Assembly. I have watched town after town masterfully execute long-term strategies and make long-lasting investments into their communities. And I have watched our state, upon the foundation of our cities, become the toast of the nation. None of these successes happened in a silo. Rather, they were the product of partnerships and collaboration and strong relationships. Town & State Dinner and CityVision get right at the heart of those wins.
Michael Lazzara, a past NCLM President and current member of the NC Senate, summed it up best at last year’s conference. “There is absolutely nothing more important as a municipal leader than to be engaged in your League and to attend these events, to get to know your legislators, to make time, to communicate, to build relationships,” Lazzara told attendees. “It’s extremely important. We have common goals and common challenges.”
That’s not to say that these events are the only place you’ll find the NC League throughout the year. In fact, you can find us just about anywhere across the state, hosting events, sharing information, and consulting local governments on any number of matters, from police to HR to legal. NCLM is a one-stop shop for cities and towns in North Carolina, and we are proud to work with so many of our municipalities each and every day.
If you haven’t taken advantage of League services in a while, please reach out to us and see how we can help. And if you want to see the microcosm of NCLM in action, join us at CityVision. We hope to see you there.