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  • Writer's pictureDanielle McKinney

Congressional City Conference Moment

I attended my first National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional City Conference in downtown Washington, DC. It was an incredible opportunity to learn about key legislative priorities across various cities, hear about federal funding that Greenbelt might be eligible for, connect and advocate for Greenbelt on Capitol Hill, and network with other municipal leaders. There are so many federal funding opportunities that Greenbelt can take advantage of and that align with many of the needs in our community.

One of my favorite sessions was facilitated by the Children & Nature Network. Along with NLC and Kaboom, they have launched the Nature Everywhere initiative focused on "creating equitable access to nature everywhere children live, learn and play." I'm excited about looking for ways to get more connected with this organization and utilize its research, tools, and network to expand access to play spaces across the city.

I'm also honored to serve on the NLC Human Development Legislative Advocacy Committee. The committee is responsible for developing policy positions and leading NLC’s advocacy on issues involving social services, children and learning, poverty and income support, employment and workforce development, equal opportunity, education, Social Security and seniors, individuals with disabilities, public health care, mental health parity, and immigration reform.

During the conference, the committee heard presentations from the Global Food Institute at The George Washington University, the Administration for Children and Families, and municipal leaders from other cities discussing some of the work they are involved in related to food insecurity, mental health, and youth workforce development. I was excited to learn about some model programs and approaches in our backyard that we could lean into to to enhance our programs.

Overall, I just enjoyed hearing about fresh ideas, success, and accomplishments from other cities, and being able to network and connect with people who share the same energy and passion for community. I'm looking forward to diving in more and just being a sponge to learn and grow.

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