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Something to Think About: Joe Biden Loves Cities

November 9, 2015

I’d say it was probably five feet.

Yeah. I was just five feet away from Vice President Joe Biden when he was whisked away by the Secret Service last Thursday. I almost shook his hand too. But as the VP shouted his sincerest apologies, I couldn’t seem to remember how to speak. I did manage to take an excellent picture of the back of his head, though.

Last Thursday, I had the chance to hear Biden speak at the National League of Cities conference in Nashville, TN.  Along with three other members of Tampa’s Mayor’s Youth Corps, I sat in on several workshops and sessions over the course of three days. Topics ranged from creative placemaking to the sharing economy to prisoner re-entry.

The purpose of the conference is pretty simple: cities helping cities work better for their citizens.

I have to say, it was pretty refreshing, after months of hearing partisan dialogue on divisive issues, to see people of all political backgrounds coming together. I wrote last week about the difference between politicians and public servants. These people were public servants.

Which brings to Joe Biden, who spoke in the general session. His main message? Cities are important to America and should not be ignored.

This idea is especially significant considering the upcoming presidential election. While introducing Biden, the President of NLC reminded the audience (much applause given) of the rewarding relationship that cities have had with the current administration.

So of course, finding the right candidate for the next four years is a top priority to everyone who attended the convention.As soon as Biden began to speak, it became pretty evident why he and President Obama have been able to gain the favor of America’s cities.

The Vice President extolled cities as the drivers of the American economy and the American spirit. And he called on cities to bring about the future for this nation.

This concept isn’t one that most people are familiar with.

The daily challenges and accomplishments of City Council are not broadcasted on TV.  At least, not on any TV station that you would watch. There isn’t anything exciting about the sanitation department or public parking. And what is a zoning hearing compared to Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony?

But city government truly does make our world go round.

What we learn in school depends on the decisions of our school board. If your garbage hasn’t been picked up, you don’t call your senator. And when you’re in trouble, the National Guard doesn’t come to your rescue. Your local police department does, which is why the second most powerful man in the country took the time to speak to a room full of mayors last week.

And it’s why you should care too.

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