Mayor Peduto

If you’ve already had enough of the 2016 election, hang in there. Over the 20 months remaining until you finally push a button, while you’re sputtering in rage at various news outlets, remind yourself that you’re doing it for the cities.

While attending the National League of Cities‘ annual Congressional City Conference, Mayor Peduto was one of 17 municipal leaders and state municipal league executive directors named to the bipartisan 2016 Presidential Election Task Force. The annual conference brings municipal leaders, Congress and the presidential administration together to discuss urban priorities.

The new task force will be the resource of choice for harried campaign staffers seeking to educate candidates on city issues, according to a news release from the NLC. But its raison d’être is meant to extend beyond 2016 stump speeches to further policy debates like the need for universal pre-K and affordable housing, says Timothy McNulty, communications manager for Mayor Peduto.

“As everyone knows gridlock has paralyzed Washington, so both Republican and Democratic mayors from across the country have stepped in to become national leaders in implementing policy. This task force will make sure all the 2016 presidential candidates recognize that, and are aware of city issues, so those good government partnerships will continue into the next administration.”

NLC president Ralph Becker—the mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah—was quoted as saying that future administrations need to promote policies that allow American cities to grow and prosper.

“More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban areas and it is imperative that the issues cities face be at the forefront in the 2016 presidential election.”

The World Health Organization estimated in 2014 that 54 percent of the world’s population lives in cities, a growth of twenty percent over the last 55 years. Pittsburgh’s population at the time of the last census was 305,704, but has continued to see positive migration. Drawing people into Pittsburgh, and cities in general, increases the tax base (good for services), but also increases a place’s social capital.

This November, Pittsburgh will host the NLC’s other major conference, the Congress of Cities and Exposition.

Margaret J. Krauss is a writer, radio producer, and researcher. If not biking Pittsburgh's streets or swimming its rivers, she is likely geeking out about a really good story.