2020 State of the Cities
- Mayor Tom Barrett - Milwaukee, WI
- Mayor Steve Benjamin - Columbia, SC
- Mayor Bill de Blasio - New York, NY
- Mayor Justin Elicker - New Haven, CT
- Mayor Jorge Elorza - Providence, RI
- Mayor Greg Fischer - Louisville, KY
- Mayor Robert Garcia - Long Beach, CA
- Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz - Toledo, OH
- Mayor Quinton Lucas - Kansas City, MO
- Mayor Tim Keller - Albuquerque, NM
- Mayor Libby Schaaf - Oakland, CA
- Mayor Andy Schor - Lansing, MI
- Mayor Kathy Sheehan - Albany, NY
- Mayor Danene Sorace - Lancaster, PA
- Mayor Yvonne Spicer - Framingham, MA
- Mayor Levar Stoney - Richmond, VA
- Mayor Sharon Weston Broome - Baton Rouge, LA
- Mayor Martin J. Walsh - Boston, MA
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Mayor Tom Barrett
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett delivered his annual State of the City address this week, highlighting a significant drop in crime as well as ongoing efforts on affordable housing, early childhood education, sustainability, and economic development.
The city has experienced a downward trend across all categories of crime, from homicides and non-fatal shootings to carjackings. Mayor Barrett praised the work of the Milwaukee Police Department and the city's Office of Violence Prevention for their success in addressing violence as a public health issue.
"Let me tell you why this is so important: For decades Milwaukee relied solely on the police to fight crime," Mayor Barrett said. "Now we are prioritizing prevention, working with the community, and expanding our approach to making Milwaukee safer."
The Mayor also shared his excitement for the 2020 Democratic National Convention, which is anticipated to bring 50,000 people to Milwaukee from July 13 to 16.
"The convention gives us a chance to tell our story and we're eager to do so," he said. "It's a story of hard-working, resilient people, innovative companies, great natural beauty, and cultural and entertainment assets galore."
Read Mayor Barrett's full address here.
Mayor Steve Benjamin
In his tenth State of the City Address, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin reflected on the city's progress and innovation over the last decade, especially in regard to economic development, revitalization, and equity.
"Together we've laid a foundation to move this city forward," he said.
Mayor Benjamin discussed the city's recently-adopted gun ordinances, which have been challenged by the state's Attorney General Alan Wilson. The Mayor said the city will not back down when it comes to keeping people safe.
"We will take guns off our streets, out of our neighborhoods, out of our schools so our children can learn and grow from their peers free from fear, free from harm," he said. "The reality is as we debate politics, our children are debating survival."
Mayor Benjamin shared his administration's efforts to address affordable housing and homelessness. The city's Office of Community Development continues to help residents purchase homes through its home loan program, and in the past year has provided financial assistance to 136 people facing homelessness.
Columbia's Change Up Program also allowed 161 residents to pay their water and utility bills, totaling nearly $50,000 of support.
Watch Mayor Benjamin's full address here.
Mayor Bill de Blasio
New York, NY
Mayor Bill de Blasio recently delivered his seventh State of the City Address - a blueprint for the city's future that includes providing small businesses the support they need to survive, taking meaningful steps to improve affordability, driving down crime and traffic fatalities, and protecting future generations from the threat of climate change.
"New York City is the greatest city in the world, but many New Yorkers have real fears that the city they love is slipping away," Mayor de Blasio said. "From making Pre-K universal, to creating the safest big city in America, we have accomplished so much together, but we need to go much farther."
Mayor de Blasio unveiled new efforts to grow, support and save New York's many "mom-and-pop shops" - not only by cutting red tape and fines, but also by allocating new resources to the small business community.
The Mayor also shared new goals for city schools. Though test scores, graduation rates and college readiness have all improved since Mayor de Blasio took office, he wants to raise the bar higher by committing to surpass the nation's graduation rate in the next five years - reaching 86% by 2026.
Pre-K is now a reality for all four year-olds in New York City, but the city aims to continue to expand access to all three year-olds as well. Beginning this September, "3-K" will cover half of New York City's school districts, including four new districts. Approximately 26,000 three year-olds will have access to full-day, high-quality 3-K in 2019.
Read or watch Mayor de Blasio's full address here.
Mayor Justin Elicker
New Haven, CT
Justin Elicker delivered his first State of the City address in early February, just 34 days after being sworn in as Mayor of New Haven. He described the city's challenges, including inequality, affordability, and public safety, and outlined his plans to address them.
Mayor Elicker dedicated approximately half of his address to the issue of affordable housing, which he identified as the central priority of his administration.
"Nearly one-third of New Haven residents spend over 50 percent of their income on housing," he said. "And as so many new market rate units come online, we all are concerned that this number will become even worse. Now is the time to prioritize the creation of affordable housing."
Through his new Housing for All initiative, Mayor Elicker will guide city efforts to achieve more quality affordable housing by passing new inclusionary zoning legislation, ramping up code enforcement, and lobbying the state legislature.
"Housing first, housing for all. Without housing, we don't have stability in our lives. Without housing, we won't succeed," he said.
Read Mayor Elicker's full address here.
Mayor Jorge Elorza
Mayor Jorge Elorza described "New Providence" during his State of the City Address this week - a new era for the city characterized by innovation, progress, and growth.
"Thirty years ago downtown was a place for our business community during the day, a little more than nightclubs in the evening, and the interests of downtown were often pitted against that of our neighborhoods," he said. "Today downtown is a destination that's vibrant with foot traffic, full of new restaurants and bars, brought to life with public art and festivals, and whose charm is being fully rediscovered."
Mayor Elorza praised the city's model of community policing for driving crime down to an all-time low in 2019. Over the last five years, shootings have been reduced by more than 60% and burglaries have declined by 55%.
He also discussed the recent state takeover of the Providence schools, acknowledging that city leaders past and present "never managed to break through and bring about the change that was needed."
The Mayor highlighted city investments in after-school learning, including two nationally-recognized initiatives: Providence After School Alliance and Providence Talks, which incentivizes early language acquisition. He also pledged to make universal Pre-K a reality in the city.
Watch Mayor Elorza's address here.
Mayor Greg Fischer
Mayor Greg Fischer opened his tenth State of the City address with a call to his community: "What steps do we take today to ensure a bright path tomorrow for generations to come?"
The state of Louisville is strong, as evidenced by 83,000 new jobs, 3,000 new businesses, and $15 billion in capital investment just since 2014. There are a number of major projects underway, including the new Lynn Family Soccer Stadium, which will host two professional soccer teams.
"All of this progress is making our city even more attractive to businesses, investors and young professionals - helping us be named a top 15 city for millennial growth," he said.
Mayor Fischer outlined his administration's ongoing efforts to address what he identifies as the city's three main challenges: "Equity, so everyone can feel connected to a bright and hopeful future; skill development, to create a thriving workforce; and our built environment - fixing and improving our aging sewer and flood protection systems, along with miles of roads, bridges, sidewalks and parks."
Mayor Fischer will continue to prioritize supporting the city's young population by connecting them to new opportunities. He plans to work with the Metro Council to reallocate some of the money previously dedicated to Youth Detention Services towards more youth development.
"Let's interrupt the cycle of violence before it begins," he said.
Read Mayor Fischer's address here.
Mayor Robert Garcia
Long Beach, CA
"Our progress in these last few years is visible from every neighborhood across our city," Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said on January 14. "It's the start of a new decade, and I'm proud to report to all of you tonight, that the state of this city is strong."
During his sixth State of the City address, Mayor Garcia shared highlights from 2019 - including the city's lowest crime rate in decades - as well as a number of initiatives on the horizon.
Mayor Garcia called for a reinvention of Long Beach's Downtown Plan, which was passed by the City Council in 2012.
"Let's begin developing a new Downtown Plan, one that includes even more density and taller buildings, climate resilient structures, more incentives to build, new protections for lower income residents, and centered around our new downtown CSULB campus," he said.
Long Beach is making substantial progress in its efforts to house people who need shelter, Mayor Garcia shared, and there's more to come in 2020. In February, Long Beach will launch its first SAFE Parking Program to provide a safe place for people who are living in their cars. The city is set to open its first year-round city shelter this summer.
Mayor Garcia also urged the City Council to adopt new inclusionary zoning policies to ensure the creation of new affordable homes in every new development across our city.
Read Mayor Garcia's full address here.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz delivered his 2020 State of the City Address at the Toledo Zoo, reflecting on accomplishments and sharing his ongoing priorities for the city.
He highlighted one of his administration's most significant achievements from 2019: reaching an historic regional water agreement that was unanimously passed by the city council. "After 70 years of fighting about water, last year, we signed the regional water agreement," Mayor Kapszukiewicz said.
The Mayor unveiled his biggest priority for 2020: ensuring voters approve a key ballot measure next month. Issue 1 would increase the income tax from 2.25% to 2.75% for ten years to invest in all aspects of the city - with a central focus on fixing Toledo's roads.
"Successful cities invest in themselves," he said.
Mayor Kapszukiewicz said Issue 1 will increase 50-fold the number of residential roads that the city resurfaces, and identified specific roads that would be repaved or reconstructed.
Watch Mayor Kapszukiewicz's address here.
Mayor Tim Keller
Mayor Tim Keller discussed sustainability, homelessness, and public safety in his second State of the City Address as Mayor of Albuquerque.
Since Mayor Keller took office in 2018, the city has made significant strides towards becoming more climate-friendly.
"By 2030, not that far away, we are going to be the largest 100% renewable cities in the country," Mayor Keller announced. He added that the city has invested $25 million in solar panels on nearly all city-owned buildings.
Homelessness remains one of Albuquerque's central challenges. Mayor Keller shared that the city plans to break ground on a new $30 million gateway homeless shelter next winter.
The city is also working towards an agreement with the Department of Justice to release the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) from about one quarter of its oversight mandates.
"It is one giant step closer to freeing up additional officers and tax payer funding to focus back on crime," Mayor Keller said. He also highlighted the addition of 100 new officers, bringing the APD to its highest numbers in years.
Read Mayor Keller's State of the City Address here.
Mayor Quinton Lucas
Kansas City, MO
With an emphasis on improving basic services, Mayor Quinton Lucas outlined priorities for his first term as Mayor of Kansas City in his State of the City address last night. Driven by the core value of equity, his administration will address gun violence, transportation, infrastructure and housing in the coming months.
"Part of building that equitable city includes ensuring that we have a city where our infrastructure doesn't lead to blown-out car tires and damaged hubcaps or injuries to cyclists that may cost hundreds or thousands or cause injuries that may take someone off of work," Lucas said.
This year the city's budget will include an additional $17 million dedicated to street surfacing, bringing the total funding to 70% more than it was two years ago. Mayor Lucas' administration is also on track to make Kansas City the first city in the nation with zero-fare bus transit, which will be in place by this summer.
His budget also includes resources to hire more police officers, social workers, and probation officers as part of the city's strategy to reduce violent crime throughout Kansas City.
"We owe it to the victims, to their families, to our own community, to the lives we may yet save," Mayor Lucas said.
Mayor Lucas said he hopes this first budget sends a clear message to the people of Kansas City: "That they matter, that their neighborhoods matter, that their issues matter."
Watch his full address here.
Mayor Libby Schaaf
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf focused on homelessness and affordable housing in her State of the City Address last week.
"The state of our city is one of intense change and possibility," she said. "Now, our vision remains a vibrant and equitable city where everyone thrives, and where everyone feels a deep sense of belonging in Oakland, to Oakland, and to one another."
The city has made progress in the past year, including doubling the shelter capacity in the city to more than 1,700 beds. But there's more to be done, Mayor Schaaf said. Oakland moved 900 people from homelessness to housing in 2019. She pledged to double that number in 2020.
Her administration will continue to focus on preventing displacement through its Keep Oakland Housed Program, which has helped more than 2,100 families stay in their homes.
Infrastructure is another priority for the city's near future, Mayor Schaaf said. Over the next three years, $100 million will go towards paving 100 miles of roads.
Watch Mayor Schaaf's address here.
Mayor Andy Schor
Mayor Andy Schor highlighted Lansing's growth at his annual State of the City address in early February.
"One of the most exciting parts of being Mayor is working on new economic development projects and watching this city grow," he said. More than $200 million in new projects were announced in 2019 - more than triple the investment made in the previous year.
In order to expand local climate efforts, the City of Lansing will hire its first Sustainability Manager and Coordinator this spring. This employee will maintain, review, and help to implement the city's climate action plan and energy efficiency plan.
Mayor Schor also announced the creation of a mental health task force to bring together city employees, representatives from the city's two hospitals, community mental health workers, and others with the goal of finding innovative solutions. He also highlighted the addition of a social worker to the Lansing Police Department, which had been one of his top priorities.
At the close of his address, Mayor Schor reminded everyone to fill out the census this year and emphasized the role it will play in determining the city's federal funding and representation.
"Lansing needs to be counted," he said.
Read Mayor Schor's address here.
Mayor Kathy Sheehan
Mayor Kathy Sheehan recently presented her seventh State of the City address at Albany City Hall. With the theme of "Albany Rise," her remarks spanned public safety, neighborhood revitalization, the census, and more.
The city recently received a $1 million grant from the state to combat blight, which will play a significant role in her administration's ongoing revitalization efforts.
"We are going to roll up our sleeves, work with our community, work with you, block by block, to ensure that we combat blight so that every neighborhood has quality housing that's affordable to the people who live there," Mayor Sheehan said.
Mayor Sheehan also drew attention to the 2020 Census, which she described as critical to the city's future.
"I want every single person in the city to be counted. And I want them to know that they count to us," she said. "And so I hope that you will work with me to take this as a rallying cry."
Albany has also seen progress with regard to public safety. Crime went 8% down from 2018 to 2019 and the city no longer has a shortage of 911 dispatchers.
Watch Mayor Sheehan's address here.
Mayor Danene Sorace
The City of Lancaster has made strides in recent years, but there is more work to be done, Mayor Danene Sorace reported in her second State of the City address.
One ongoing challenge is the city's fiscal health.
"We have made big changes, yet this persistent structural deficit remains," Mayor Sorace said. "We will not be able to economically develop our way out of the structural deficit."
The City of Lancaster can't do it alone, she emphasized. Lancaster County and the state need to step up and be strong partners.
Mayor Sorace also remains focused on expanding access to affordable housing, which she described as one of the community's most pressing needs. In addition to creating more affordable units, her administration is taking steps to preserve the existing housing stock, in part through the city's lead remediation program, which recently received an $11 million grant to help fund repairs.
She closed her address with a call to action regarding the 2020 census.
"Complete the survey and help spread the word to let people know the census is safe, easy and super-important," she said.
Mayor Yvonne Spicer
Mayor Yvonne Spicer discussed jobs, equity, public safety, and climate change during her annual State of the City address in January.
One goal for the coming year is to ramp up the city's efforts regarding climate change.
"We have to do our part," Mayor Spicer said. "In 2020, we must create a robust strategy to address the cost and resources needed to mitigate the impact of storm water on our environment."
Mayor Spicer continues to prioritize transparency and engagement between city government and the people it serves. She highlighted her work to create Framingham's first "government academy," which aims to increase civic literacy and government participation among residents.
Her office will continue to collaborate with the police department to create a Downtown Task Force focused on making downtown safer by bringing together residents, business owners, and police officers.
Mayor Spicer pledged to do more to tackle transportation and traffic challenges in the coming year, including continuing to push state leaders to add more parking capacity to the Framingham commuter rail station.
Watch Mayor Spicer's address here.
Mayor Levar Stoney
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney unveiled a number of new initiatives during his third State of the City address in January.
The city will establish its first Office of Children and Families to make Richmond the best possible place to grow up and raise a family.
"The Office of Children and Families will be our north star, setting direction for the entire city so that we collectively support our families and together lead our children to one destination: a happy, healthy adulthood, no matter their neighborhood or background," he said.
Mayor Stoney will continue to prioritize housing, with a particular focus on reducing evictions. In 2019, his administration established an eviction diversion financial assistance program as well as an eviction task force.
In the coming weeks, the city will unveil its Affordable and Equitable Housing Strategy, with the goal of creating more opportunities for seniors, low-income residents, youth aging out of the foster care system, and more.
Mayor Stoney also addressed public safety and gun violence by highlighting a number of recent efforts, including his 2019 legislation to require individuals to report lost or stolen firearms to the police within 24 hours. And he pledged to do even more.
"One lost life is one too many, and one lost child is not just a crime against a family, it is a crime against our city," he said. "The bottom line is we must do better."
Watch Mayor Stoney's address here.
Mayor Martin J. Walsh
"My vision, my passion, what I work for every day, is for Boston to be that city of dreams for every child, every worker, every senior and every single person who calls our city home."
Mayor Martin J. Walsh delivered his annual State of the City address at Boston's Symphony Hall on January 7. He outlined several goals in the areas of education, transportation, and affordable housing.
To build on Boston's progress in regard to housing, Mayor Walsh announced an unprecedented investment of $500 million over five years to create thousands of homes across the city, affordable to a range of incomes. The City alone will devote $100 million - double its current investment - and generate additional revenue by working with the State Legislature to approve a transfer tax the City passed last month.
Mayor Walsh also announced a massive investment in the city's education system: $100 million in new revenue for direct classroom funding.
"[This investment] will reach every school and it will be carefully targeted, so every dollar makes a difference," he said. "We'll begin with intense support for underperforming schools, so we can become one great district."
Another core goal for 2020 is to make Boston streets work better for everyone. This year, Mayor Walsh will direct the Boston Police and Transportation Departments to work together to implement a plan to strengthen traffic enforcement. He also plans to continue to advocate for the City of Boston to have a seat on the MBTA board.
Read or watch Mayor Walsh's State of the City Address here.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome
Baton Rouge, LA
Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome outlined priorities in her annual State of the City Address earlier this month, including improving public safety, expanding youth opportunities, and supporting the health of residents.
When Mayor Broome took office in 2017, the Mayor's Summer Youth Program only had approximately 150 participants. Last year, she set a goal to employ 500 youth in the summer of 2019 - which the city met through collaboration with EmployBR and private companies. In 2020, Mayor Broome will double that goal and launch the Mayor's Baton Rouge Youth Unlimited, a new format that will allow the city to employ youth throughout the year.
Improving the health of residents has been one of Mayor Broome's primary focuses in her first term. Her program Healthy BR aims to foster a movement based on communication, coordination, and collaboration to promote a better and healthier life for all city residents.
"Through Move with the Mayor, I've been all over the city - walking, riding bikes, rock climbing, going to a 4th grade gym class - to lead by example," she said.
Though the city has seen a reduction in the number of homicides for two consecutive years, Mayor Broome wants to do more in regard to public safety. Beginning in February, she will invite community members to join her and the Chief of Police at a series of meetings with the goal of increasing community engagement.
"The relationship with between law enforcement and the community must be strong," she said. "The two need one another."