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Cleveland Councilman Matt Zone was officially elected president of the National League of Cities on Saturday (November 19), the final day of the NLC’s annual convention held in Pittsburgh.
Councilman Zone will lead the nation's largest and most representative membership and advocacy organization for city officials.
He joined the NLC early in his career as a Cleveland councilman and steadily moved up the ranks of the organization, which advocates for more than 19,000 cities, villages and towns across the nation, offering resources, workshops and networking to municipal officials.
Councilman Zone, who will serve as president of the 92-year-old organization for one year, told the convention that he is forming a task force on economic mobility and opportunity.
“This initiative will bring together mayors and council members throughout the nation to raise the visibility of local efforts to increase economic mobility, expand economic opportunity and reduce income inequality,” Councilman Zone said in his acceptance speech.
“We will build and support a new cadre of local government champions who, together, will be a strong, singular voice in national debates on economic mobility and opportunity," said Councilman Zone first elected in 2001 to the council seat both his parents once held.
“It is my hope that local leadership will move the nation closer to the day when federal policymakers and the wealthy will understand that shared prosperity only serves to strengthen America’s families and communities. The need for diversity and inclusion will be central to this conversation.”
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is heading up the task force on economic mobility.
The Pittsburgh summit marks the National League of Cities’ 91st annual gathering. Speakers included Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, award-winning CNN journalist Candy Crowley and America’s first African American female combat pilot Vernice "Fly Girl" Armour.
The NLC’s annual conference is the largest gathering of local elected officials and staff in the country. The four-day conference in Pittsburgh attracted more than 3,000 city officials who networked and shared best municipal practices.
The only other Clevelander to hold the position of president of the National League of Cities was for U.S. Senator George Voinovich, who served as president in 1985 while mayor of Cleveland.