More than 1,000 city and town officials, legislators, business leaders and guests from across the state gathered in Tucson for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns Annual Conference, held at the JW Marriott Starr Pass August 20-23.
Douglas was represented by Mayor Robert Uribe, and councilmembers Jose Grijalva, Don Huish, Margaret Morales, Cesar Soto and various city staff employees.
The conference is held annually in late summer and provides a unique opportunity for local officials to gather together to attend training sessions designed to aid in more effective and efficient management of Arizona’s municipalities, to hear from state and legislative officials, as well as share common concerns and ideas for problem solving.
“One of the best ways to learn what has succeeded in other cities and the challenges other governing bodies face is participating with other state and local elected officials at this annual conference,” stated Mayor Uribe. “You spend almost a week in a concentrated setting listening, sharing, and taking in ideas from experts and staff who have found what works as well as stories and experiences from colleagues around the state and often from around the country. It’s impressive how coming together can stimulate new approaches and forge new relationships. The return on the time and investment spent in three and a half short days is a strong one. I have found after each of these conferences I can pick up the phone and touch base with officials at all levels of government here in Arizona who shared this common experience and have something to offer me to put to work in Douglas.”
On Thursday, Aug. 22 Mayor Uribe spoke as part of a well-attended, robust panel on “Border Myths & Facts: Realities of Life, Governance and Business on the Border” along with Mesa Mayor Giles, Yuma Mayor Doug Nichols and John Scanlon, Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT) and U.S. Border Patrol, followed by a 35 minute question and answer session by about 15 audience members.
Other League Conference highlights included a general opening session where attendees heard from the mayor of Tucson as host, the mayor of Maricopa as League President, the University of Arizona President Robert Robbins, National League of Cities First Vice President and Los Angeles Councilmember Joe Buscaino, and a lift-you-off-your-feet inspirational Keynote speaker and author John O’Leary. The evening dinner included a congressional update by US Senator Martha McSally.
The Thursday, Aug. 22 luncheon featured an exchange and address by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, an update of congressional activities by US Senator Kyrsten Sinema, presentation of League Legislative awards to the champions and friends of cities in determining laws to support in the state legislature, and League length-of-service awards to elected officials.
More than 25 educational sessions on topics ranging from fundamentals of local government such as council-manager relations and legislative issues, to ports of entry, sessions on water, recycling, economic development, social media, Census 2020, public universities and short-term rentals. For a full list of sessions and other conference events, visit: http://www.leagueaz.org/e/19ac/19ac_digital.pdf
In addition to the many educational sessions and networking events at the conference, mayors and councilmembers from across the state met during the event to develop resolutions for the League’s Municipal Policy Statement. The policy statement represents the collective interests of cities and towns statewide and will guide the League of Arizona Cities and Town’s lobbying efforts during the upcoming legislative session that begins in January 2020.
Next year’s League conference will be held in Glendale, August 31 – September 3, 2020.
About the League:
The League of Arizona Cities and Towns is a voluntary association of incorporated cities and towns in the state of Arizona. It provides policy and legislative advocacy, information and inquiry services, along with publications and educational programs to strengthen the quality and efficiency of municipal government. It was founded in 1937 to serve the interests of cities and towns and to preserve the principles of home rule and local determination. For more information, visit www.azleague.org.