Democratic Mayors Lead the Way to a Brighter Future

The NewDEAL
3 min readJun 20, 2024

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Angela Peterson/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From June 20–23, the U.S. Conference of Mayors will meet in Kansas City, Missouri, to discuss how mayors can better serve their constituents. And NewDEAL Mayors are leading the way.

NewDEAL Mayors are implementing programs focused on education, housing, transportation, climate, and more. And in doing so, they are building a better future for their communities. Earlier this year, mayors used their 2024 State of the City addresses to promote forward-thinking policies, investments in local economies, and advancements made possible through Biden Administration programs such as the American Rescue Plan Act. Here are six examples:

  1. More Green Space in Everett, WA: Mayor Cassie Franklin is working to ensure there is a park within a ten-minute walk of all residents. The initiative combines an environmental component (more green space) with quality-of-life improvements for all residents. To make the parks more inviting, she is upgrading existing spaces to include accessible playgrounds and smart lighting.
  2. Addressing Lead Pipes in Milwaukee, WI: Mayor Cavalier Johnson is transforming Milwaukee into a “workforce hub” to replace 65,000 lead water pipes throughout the city. Funding for the initiative comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Additional funding from ARPA will be used to prune 19,000 trees, plant more than 5,800 new trees, and remove over 2,500 stumps all over the city. “We’re redesigning our streets and neighborhoods and making them safer for everybody,” Johnson said.
  3. Microtransit Improvements in Montgomery, AL: Mayor Steven Reed is investing in microtransit travel benefits in Montgomery. In his State of the City address, he told the story of Hershel Roberson, a cancer patient in need of public transportation to go to life-saving medical appointments. Through new buses and vans to support a more accessible city, residents like Roberson can more easily traverse the city. Mayor Reed is dedicated to creating a dependable way for everyone to effectively access the city and return home safely.
  4. More Housing in Jersey City, NJ: Mayor Steven Fulop used his final State of the City address to highlight ways his administration is addressing housing issues. During the past year, Jersey City approved the most building permits (6,000) in the state. In addition, the city approved the most affordable housing units in the history of Jersey City, breaking ground on an 8,000-unit project. Fulop credits changes in zoning ordinances in making the progress possible.
  5. Education Investments in Boston, MA: Mayor Michelle Wu used her State of the City address to highlight progress in education. Ten capital projects are currently underway to create state-of-the-art science labs, performing arts spaces, and improved locker rooms. Funding is also focused on adding reading specialists and literacy coaches to address equitable literacy issues. These ten projects are necessary due to years of divestment and underfunding.
  6. More Manufacturing Jobs in Phoenix, AZ: Mayor Kate Gallego highlighted progress in making Phoenix a hub for technological advancement in manufacturing semiconductors. These chips will have many uses including manufacturing the world’s first automated cars. To make it happen, Gallego personally traveled to Taiwan to secure foreign direct investments which will create high-paying local jobs. The city’s progress is aided by $6.6 billion in investments from the Biden Administration’s CHIPS and Science Act.

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The NewDEAL

Leading on solutions for the new economy & making government work. Learn more at newdealleaders.org and newdealforum.org