Three Iowa mayors are with some 250 of their counterparts from across the country at the 82nd annual United States Conference of Mayors, which wraps up today in Dallas, Texas.
Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba is with the mayors of Des Moines and Dubuque at the summit. Mayor Gluba says they’re discussing five or six key issues, starting with schools. “Education, especially early childhood education, starting with when babies are born,” Gluba says. “We had a professor from the University of Washington from the Institute of Learning and Brain Science who talked about how babies actually start learning as soon as they’re born.”
As our schools go, says Gluba, so go our cities. Other topics being discussed include immigration, climate change and infrastructure. “Income and equality is another main issue we’re dealing with as best as we can,” Gluba says. “Encouraging the minimum wage to be increased, better jobs, better help for working mothers.”
Politicians at the federal level who are sent off to Washington D-C often get criticized as being out of touch, but Gluba says local officials are held accountable on a different level. “Polls show that people, believe it or not, respect and trust local officials,” Gluba says. “Their mayors are considered leaders across the country because they can talk to them every day, they know that they’re not hyper-partisan. There’s no Republican or Democratic way to fix potholes or pick up trash or address the other items.”
The mayors are debating and voting on resolutions that will shape the organization’s priorities. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more.