NLC President Matt Zone Creates Economic Mobility and Opportunity Task Force

WASHINGTON — Novemer 21,2016 — The National League of Cities' (NLC) new president, Matt Zone, councilmember from Cleveland, Ohio, launched a new NLC Task Force on Economic Mobility and Opportunity at City Summit in Pittsburgh last week. The task force is comprised of 22 local leaders across the country and will be led by its chair, Mayor Kasim Reed of Atlanta. Over the next year, the task force will identify recommendations for cities to address economic barriers that are keeping many families from sharing in our country's prosperity.

"Now more than ever, the economic well-being of our families is at risk, and we, as local officials, can be the key instruments of change and economic mobility," said NLC President Zone as he opened the first meeting of the task force. He concluded his remarks by sharing his hope that the task force will "raise the visibility of this issue and bring the local perspective into the national dialogue."

In response to the growing national debate on income inequality and growing concerns among city leaders, NLC is pursuing a three-pronged strategy to addressing economic inequality that will include: municipal engagement and peer learning, documentation of promising and emerging city approaches, and education and training for city officials. Funding for NLC's work in this space is provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The task force will leverage NLC's organizational capacity through work with ongoing research and activities in related areas such as financial inclusion, economic development and health equity; NLC's Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) initiative; and drawing best practices from the organization's broad membership base, particularly from the 22 cities participating on the task force.

"I am pleased to serve as the chair of this important task force with fellow leaders who are committed to ensuring social and economic equity for all families," said Mayor Reed of Atlanta. "The City of Atlanta is uniquely positioned to offer strategies that other cities can implement to promote inclusive communities. We are currently developing several public-private partnerships to revitalize local communities, as well as ensure affordable housing and job creation for our residents. As we plan for more opportunities that will promote economic mobility, it is important to learn from and exchange ideas with leaders from across the country."

In addition to the task force's chair, Mayor Reed, officials from 21 other cities comprise the taskforce:

  • Mayor Megan Barry of Nashville, Tenn. 
  • Mayor William V. Bell of Durham, N.C.
  • Councilmember Rick Callahan of Dallas
  • Treasurer José Cisneros of San Francisco
  • Councilmember Phyllis Cleveland of Cleveland
  • Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine of Columbia, S.C.
  • Mayor Johnny L. Dupree of Hattiesburg, Miss.
  • Mayor Jorge Elorza of Providence, R.I.
  • Councilmember Deana Holiday Ingraham of East Point, Ga.
  • Councilmember Karl Nurse of St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell of Los Angeles
  • Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh
  • Mayor Jennifer Roberts of Charlotte, N.C.
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, Calif.
  • Councilmember Matt Schellenberg of Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Mayor Paul Soglin of Madison, Wis.
  • Councilmember Kristin Szakos of Charlottesville, Va.
  • Mayor T. Oscar Trevino of North Richland Hill, Texas
  • Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston
  • Mayor Lovely Warren of Rochester, N.Y.
  • Councilmember P.C. Wu of Pensacola, Fla.

Findings from the 2015 Menino Survey of Mayors conducted by Boston University's Initiative on Cities confirm that growing inequality and persistent poverty continue to concern local leaders. Three-fourths of all mayors responding to the survey reported that they are working to increase job training and workforce development opportunities, and about half of all respondents said that they are taking steps to address the shortage of living-wage jobs in their cities.

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About the National League of Cities:
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org