Analyzing 2017's 'State of the City' Addresses

The National League of Cities has released its annual report aggregating the "State of the City" speeches from over 100 U.S. mayors, revealing the ambitions and concerns of the nation's local leadership.

1 minute read

May 31, 2017, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

San Francisco City Hall

San Francisco City Hall. | glen photo / Shutterstock

Kelsey E. Thomas shares news of the latest release of the National League of Cities' annual report on 120 state of the cities speeches delivered in 2017.

From its analysis, the report finds one "abundantly clear" takeaway: "Mayors are taking a bigger lead on poverty, racial disparities and other social issues than ever before, and tackling projects such as after-school programs, paid leave, minimum wage and immigration."

There are several obstacles standing in the way of this new trend in mayoral agenda setting: namely the proposed federal cuts to social safety nets and efforts in some states to preempt local control.

Tracking mayoral sentiments on ten major issues, the report identifies slight shifts in priorities compared to 2016 speeches. According to Thomas there were a few important changes from previous years,

…including healthcare’s jump from the 10th concern to the eighth — potentially fueled by talks of repealing the Affordable Care Act, which inspired 60 mayors to warn Congress about possible negative impacts. Infrastructure and housing also moved slightly up in mentions, while budgets and education moved slightly down. Economic development remained the top issue, as it has since 2014.

The article also includes infographics from the report that help illustrate some of the report's biggest takeaways. Planetizen shared news of the annual report previously in 2016 and 2015.

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