Cynthia McCollum Looks Back on a Banner Year

Article excerpt

Looking back on her year as NLC President during a general session at the Congress of Cities in Orlando, Fla., Cynthia McCollum told delegates she got to see cities in action. She got to watch a historical election unfold. And she got to be a part of history in the making as NLC's leader.

"Our success this year has been in demonstrating that the health of our cities, of our hometowns, is what determines the health of this nation," McCollum said. "The big issues of the day are played out on our streets, in our homes and in our commercial and retail districts. What happens in Washington doesn't stay in Washington--what happens in Washington affects each and every one of us everyday ... and so we really are the best gauge of what works--and what doesn't.

During her year as president, McCollum reached out to both Presidential campaigns to make sure the voices of cities and towns were heard while continuing to push NLC's federal advocacy agenda. She attended both parties' national conventions, visited cities across the country and worked to position NLC as a resource to the President-elect during the transition process.

"What I saw was cities in action--cities taking action. I saw cities leading in providing affordable housing, in helping citizens build financial assets, in building welcoming communities for new immigrants," she said. "Cities are innovators. They are facing serious challenges, but they also stand ready with solutions and ready to be full partners in solving the country's problems. That's what I wanted the candidates to know about NLC and you, our members."

McCollum said there is no time more important to recognize that cities aren't the problem--they are the solution in a country facing unprecedented challenges with the critical status of the nation's financial system, the investment needs of core infrastructure and the skyrocketing costs of health care. …