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The AI Interview: Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities

NLC CEO discusses the importance of local government.

American Infrastructure: For our readers who might not already know, talk about what the NLC is and what it hopes to accomplish.

Clarence E. Anthony: The National League of Cities (NLC) is the largest and oldest organization representing America’s local governments and their leaders. We serve as the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages representing more than 200 million people across the country. NLC’s mission is to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. NLC recognizes that partnership is important and working with other industries is key to tackling the infrastructure needs of America.

AI: What types of resources can members expect to receive upon joining?

CA: By becoming an NLC member, local leaders receive a wide range of resources and support to help them provide the level of service all residents deserve. This includes national advocacy support, opportunities for serving in national leadership positions, peer-networking with other local leaders from across the country, access to hands-on technical assistance, professional education and training, community discounts and so much more.

But you don’t have to be a local leader or work for local government to work with the National League of Cities. We offer companies and national nonprofit organizations a broad range of sponsorship opportunities that link reliable brands with high visibility events, trusted online resources and targeted local government member groups. 

We are deeply committed to making the NLC the premier resource for local governments and stand by this pledge by offering solutions and cost savings to our members and their residents.

AI: What policies have been implemented recently by the NLC that you are particularly proud of?

CA: 2021 has been a year of considerable change for cities, towns, and villages. While the pandemic has begun to ease its grip on our daily lives – it has forever changed the way that we operate. 

The passage of two pieces of national legislation in particular have been a special point of pride for the National League of Cities this year. For one, in March, after more than a year of fighting for relief for our members, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, providing billions in funding to help local leaders continue their important work and services in their communities in an equitable way. NLC provides strategies that reach the most vulnerable communities.

Securing COVID relief was just the beginning. NLC also helped deliver on the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, securing transformative investments in transportation, broadband and water for municipalities across the country. It’s truly an exciting time for local government!

“NLC will continue to advocate and fight for comprehensive investments in infrastructure workforce so that local governments have the talent they need to bring their infrastructure projects to life.”

AI: What are some upcoming projects/programs/policies the NLC is excited or passionate about?

CA: For more than half a decade, the NLC has been leading the charge for Congress to pass a comprehensive infrastructure package and in November of this year, local governments finally have the opportunity to renovate and rebuild thanks to the funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

This historic investment signals a transformational partnership between federal government and local government and importantly, provides critical resources to rebuild roads and bridges, improve airports, railways, ports and expand access to high-speed broadbands. This means that today, more than ever, local governments have the funds to build resilient structures in our communities, increase equality and strengthen our local economies.

We look forward to continuing to provide local leaders with the guidance and resources they need to take full advantage of this historic investment. In fact, exclusive to NLC members, we have already launched an interactive infrastructure bill insights tool where you can search the provisions of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law by program, agency, or municipal need.

AI: What are some goals you hope to achieve in 2022?

CA: We want to build on the great work our organization did in 2021. NLC will continue to advocate and fight for comprehensive investments in infrastructure workforce so that local governments have the talent they need to bring their infrastructure projects to life.

AI: Anything else that you would like folks to know about NLC?

CA: On March 12-16, 2022, we will hold our annual Congressional City Conference (CCC) in Washington, D.C. to provide local leaders with the tools and connections to help build a brighter future for our nation’s communities. Join us and take part in an immersive program alongside administration officials, members of Congress and of course, local elected officials, as we respond to the challenges facing America’s hometowns. Register today: https://ccc.nlc.org/