RALEIGH –The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a bipartisan group established by the mayors of the state’s larger cities, elected Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger as its new Chair, Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo as Vice Chair and Concord Mayor Bill Dusch as Treasurer. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan rounds out the Coalition Officers as the Immediate Past Chair. Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines and Statesville Mayor Costi Kutteh were re-elected to at-large seats on the Executive Committee, while Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins, Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert and Raleigh Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin were chosen as new members.
“I look forward to working with my fellow mayors in the coming year. Through our work together, including how we share strategies and ideas, we make our state and our cities great places to live, work, study and play,” Mayor Hemminger said upon being named to the post.
Mayor Vaughan reflected on the positive work accomplished by the Coalition, as well as its future.
“It was an honor to have spent the last couple years leading the Metro Mayors and I am so excited about the future of our state’s cities,” she said.
The elected officers and executive committee will lead the Coalition’s collaboration with state and federal officials, as well as other stakeholders, as they advocate for policies that create high quality jobs, effective transportation networks, affordable housing and public safety.
At their first in-person gathering since the pandemic, the mayors were hosted in Durham by outgoing Durham Mayor Steve Schewel. They gathered to share their experiences during this difficult period and discussed their shared priorities and goals for their work together. They were especially pleased that Gov. Roy Cooper joined them for important and fruitful discussions on issues of common concern. They also enjoyed a video conversation with officials from the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
A highlight of the gathering was the tour of Durham hosted by Mayor Schewel. The mayors, also joined by incoming Durham Mayor Elaine O’Neal, toured the Chesterfield Life Science Building and Duke University. Reflecting one of the top priorities for all the cities, the mayors visited an affordable housing project – the Willard Street Apartments, an extraordinary housing partnership between the City of Durham, DHIC, Self-Help Ventures and Duke University.
The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, founded in 2001, is comprised of the mayors of the state’s larger cities, that combined have over 4 million residents and serve as the centers of economic growth in NC. The Coalition, an affiliate of the NC League of Municipalities, is a non-partisan, mayor-driven organization that focuses on issues of special interest to our larger cities and metro regions in a fast-growing and urbanizing state. The Coalition members work with each other and federal and state officials to promote policies that encourage high quality of life, job creation, protect local revenues, invest in public infrastructure, and keep our cities safe.
Annual Meeting being held in Durham – NC Metro Mayors visit Willard Street Apartments, affordable housing that is adjacent to the Durham Station Transportation Center
The American Rescue Plan presented a tremendous opportunity for Wilmington, as it did for all cities across North Carolina. They are making the most of it. By engaging the community, Wilmington developed plans to not just recover from the economic harms of the pandemic, but to set itself up for long-term, citizen-focused success.
This video features those plans as described from the local leaders themselves.
A news release from Metro Mayors partner, the North Carolina League of Municipalities:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 27, 2021
Contact: Scott Mooneyham
(919) 715-9768 [email protected]
Mayors Urge Approval of Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan
Mayors from five North Carolina cities, representing cities and towns from across the state, on Tuesday called on Congress to work together to pass the $579 billion bipartisan infrastructure plan.
Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander, president of the N.C. League of Municipalities; Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, chair of the North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition; Kinston Mayor Don Hardy, chair of the North Carolina Mayors Association; Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer; and Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins spoke to reporters as a bipartisan group of U.S. senators continued negotiations regarding the package.
The plan, as outlined in an earlier preliminary agreement, includes funding for transportation, transit, water and sewer, energy independence and renewable energy, broadband, and general infrastructure resiliency.
“In so many of our towns and cities, by working with our residents, we create a vision to know where we want to go, but we need the resources to get there,” Alexander said. “This infrastructure plan can help provide us with those resources.”
Atkins and several of the mayors thanked U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis for their efforts to push for a bipartisan infrastructure solution.
“It is time for Congress to put aside partisan concerns and recognize this as an opportunity to meet a critical need that will help all Americans. But also, this is an opportunity to show the American people that government can still work together, in common purpose, without thinking of the next election, in a way that benefits us all,” Vaughan said. “Our two U.S. Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, did that when they joined in this bipartisan effort. We need them and all members of Congress to complete the journey and see this legislation to the finish line.”
Hardy noted how critical the federal plan could be in improving infrastructure in eastern North Carolina to be more resilient in the face of increasing storms and severe weather. “I don’t know that there is an area of this country that could benefit more from making our infrastructure more resilient to climate change and the weather events that we now experience far too frequently,” he said.
To view a recorded video of the entire news conference, click here:
Here are some additional comments from Tuesday morning’s news conference:
Kinston Mayor Don Hardy, Chair, N.C. Mayors Association
We can do better. We can make our roads and bridges more resilient, make our water and sewer systems less susceptible to the damaging effects of flooding.
Mooresville Mayor Miles Atkins
As the final mayor speaking, I want to thank Senators Burr and Tillis for being a part of this bipartisan group as this effort began. As Mayor Vaughan mentioned, in local government, we are fortunate to avoid a lot of the partisan rancor that we see at the state and federal level … We have to recognize that it is not easy for our members of Congress to step outside of that partisanship.
Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer
It is crucial that we all work together to come up with innovative infrastructure solutions so that all of our communities continue to thrive. We must do so while finding sustainable ways to meet growth and maintain community character that made our city or town attractive to residents in the first place.
Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander, President, NC League of Municipalities
Cities and towns are where the rubber meets the road when it comes to determining infrastructure needs and then facilitating the meeting of those needs. We depend on the state and the federal government to be partners in this effort.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, Chair, N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition
It (infrastructure) is not a partisan issue. It helps everyone, all of us – the public and private sector, business owners and their employees, young people and retirees, and all those in between. It allows commerce to flourish, and it connects us to one another.
About the League
The North Carolina League of Municipalities is a member-driven organization representing the interests of cities and towns in the state. Through their collective efforts, League member cities and towns better serve their residents and improve quality of life.
For more than 100 years, the League has been one voice for cities and towns working for a better North Carolina.
NC Mayors Urge BIPARTISAN Solution on Infrastructure
The NC Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, a bipartisan group of mayors from North Carolina’s larger cities, today called on the US Congress to push forward on a bipartisan effort to make a much-needed investment in our nation’s infrastructure.
The following is a statement by NC Metro Mayors Coalition Chair, Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan:
“Last month a bipartisan group of US Senators charted a path forward on a critical investment in our nation’s future. This bipartisan group of 21 Senators, which notably included both Senator Richard Burr and Senator Thom Tillis, came together to sketch out a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that promises a once in a generation investment in our communities. President Biden endorsed this framework and Congress now has the opportunity to move forward with the proposal as debate begins in earnest on legislation to make it a reality. This bipartisan effort could have huge pay off by making our nation more competitive, helping fight climate change and beginning to address the backlog of highway, transit, water projects and other infrastructure that touch people in every community in our state.
“As mayors, we work every day to improve the quality of life in North Carolina, and this federal investment in our future is exactly the kind of help we need as we all push for better roads, transit, clean water and a healthy environment. We call on Congress and President Biden to stay the course, do the hard work to build consensus and make this framework a reality. That is what our cities need, what our citizens and businesses want and how we are supposed to get things done – together.”
The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, founded in 2001, is comprised of the mayors of the state’s larger cities. The Coalition is a non-partisan, mayor-driven organization that focuses on issues of special interest to our large cities in a fast-growing and urbanizing state. The Coalition has worked successfully with federal and state elected officials to promote job creation, protect local revenues, invest in public infrastructure, and keep our cities safe.
The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition is pleased to announce the hiring of William “Beau” Mills as their new Executive Director. Mills, a native North Carolinian with government and public policy experience at the federal, state and local levels, is returning to this position which he previously held 2001– 2008 as the Coalition’s first Executive Director.
“We are thrilled that Beau is our Executive Director as he brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and enthusiasm to the Coalition,” said Asheville Mayor and Metro Mayors Chair Esther Manheimer. “Beau will ensure that we continue to build strong relationships with our partners across the state. With the Metro Mayors Coalition’s 20th anniversary approaching, we look forward to continuing the important work of serving our urban communities throughout North Carolina.”
In addition to his previous work with the Coalition, Mills has served as a program and policy analyst at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. and with N.C. Governor Jim Hunt’s Policy Office. He has also worked in private consulting and led state congressional offices in NC. Most recently, Mills was the Director of Federal Affairs for UNC-Chapel Hill.
Mills earned his bachelor’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and his master’s degree in public administration from the University of West Florida. He replaces Julie White, who left the Coalition in 2017 to serve as a deputy secretary at the N.C. Department of Transportation.
N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Continues Steps to Bridge Urban and Rural Communities
The N.C. Metropolitan Mayors Coalition Board of Directors adopted a focus on building bridges between urban and rural communities in 2017. They started the year in conversations with the N.C. Rural Center exploring how each organization views economic development across our State and learning from one another. Those conversations led to a joint op ed calling for a focus on how urban and rural communities are linked as economic regions and a shared desire to chart an economic pathway that benefits all of us.
To learn more about our State’s rural regions the Metro Mayors embarked on a down east bus tour in May visiting Greenville and Kinston. Greenville Mayor Thomas and Kinston Mayor Murphy led the large city Mayors on a tour of their successful economic development initiatives and talking with their fellow mayors and city managers about the challenges the region faces. The Mayors were impressed with all the two cities have done to invest in infrastructure, attract a high-quality workforce, and build stronger partnerships with local businesses as catalysts for job growth.
Upon returning from the May meeting the Metro Mayors talked about how they could continue to work with Kinston and Mayor Murphy as the city is not yet large enough for membership in the Coalition. After conversations between the Metro Mayors leadership, Mayor Murphy and City Manager Tony Sears the Metro Mayors are pleased to announce a pilot program dubbed Sister City in NC where the Metro Mayors Coalition will work in partnership with the City of Kinston to build a bridge between our State’s urban and rural regions.
“The Metro Mayors Coalition was founded on the principle of building stronger relationships between large city mayors. We have all seen the benefits of the relationships we have formed through this organization and want to grow an equally strong relationship with Mayor Murphy and the City of Kinston,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer, Chair of the Metro Mayors Coalition.
Through the partnership, Mayor Murphy will continue his interactions with the large city mayors by participating in our meetings where our Mayors share challenges and best practices with one another and through those interactions build stronger relationships with one another. The City of Kinston’s city manager and department heads will have similar opportunities with their peers in Metro Mayors Coalition cities.
“The Metro Mayors Coalition is to be commended for proactively learning the concerns of rural North Carolina,” said Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy. “Kinston is at a great crossroads with incredible momentum and opportunity, yet challenges that are tough to face alone. We are honored to partner with the Metro Mayors Coalition’s via the Sister City initiative to build a stronger city and better North Carolina.”
The North Carolina Metropolitan Mayors Coalition, founded in 2001, is comprised of the mayors of the state’s larger cities, with more than three million citizens. The Coalition is a non-partisan, mayor-driven organization that focuses on issues of special interest to our large cities in a fast-growing and urbanizing state. The Coalition has worked successfully with federal and state elected officials to promote job creation, protect local revenues, invest in public infrastructure, and keep our cities safe.