Week 8: U.S. Conference of Mayors–Washington, D.C.

March 3rd, 2010

Nathan Mundell ’10, Mansfield Foundation Fellow in Urban Policy Development

I cannot believe that I am finished with my two months in DC!  I had a great last week here that kept the pace up even to the end.  The Conference of Mayors Winter Leadership Meeting was held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  There were fewer mayors present for this meeting compared to the Winter Meeting a month ago.  It is great to be able to experience both dynamics of the Conference’s meetings.  This meeting was more hands on and tight knit.  The mayors shared their stories from their cities and engaged in productive dialogue between one another and with government officials and Representatives and Senators.

The days prior to the Leadership Meeting I attended meetings at the Conference of Mayors in preparation for the two-day event.  There were many aspects of the Meeting that were still not clarified especially.  As was the case for the Winter Meeting a month before, this one was to include meetings with important people and it is a very ongoing process to sync up schedules.  All in all the days finally came and the guests were verified one way or another.

Before meeting everyday I assembled the Metro Economies Report packages to take to the meeting and disburse to the mayor’s when they met with members of Congress.  I was able to attend most of the meetings held on the Hill that had mayor’s interacting directly with Senators and Representatives about pushing for more city oriented direct help from the government.  It was great to be exposed to such high profile meetings and to see our political system at work.

The second part to the meetings was the discussion after the Hill talks were concluded.  There were reactions and conversations between all the mayors speaking on the effectiveness of the meetings and what to do now.  This dynamic opportunity to see mayors from cities as large as Los Angeles and Philadelphia was something that was truly a privilege and a priceless benefit of working for the Conference of Mayors.

I was also able to talk with some mayors individually about things they were doing on the Hill, specifics of their cities, and in the case of the Des Moines Mayor many things very close to home.  It was great to interact from these distinguished individuals.  I got to meet the current President of the US Conference of Mayors, Mayor Elizabeth Kautz of Burnsville, Minnesota.  My mother had sent me a newspaper clipping in the mail a couple weeks prior and it turns out that Mayor Kautz actually lived in my hometown of Muscatine!

I cannot believe that my time in DC is already done with.  It was a great time.  I was there during a very interesting time in our nation from the political situations to the snowstorms producing literally feet of snow!  The information and skills that I was able to obtain through my work with the Conference of Mayors and with the guidance of my boss, Cornell alumni Dave Gatton, will help me greatly in the last couple classes at Cornell and out in the world after I leave Cornell’s very own Hilltop!

Mayor Kautz and I

Mayor Kautz and I

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