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LACT 2019 Annual Conference Trip Report

Updated: Sep 2, 2019

Last week I attended my first League of Arizona Cities and Town's Annual Conference along with over 1200 other attendees. 1165 were delegates from the 91 AZ Cities and Towns, and 119 of those delegates were youth delegates, a few of which were from our very own Sierra Vista Youth Commission! The conference provided a unique opportunity to engage with and learn best practices from cities and towns all across Arizona. It also provided a forum for municipalities to come together to discuss bill proposals we want to see brought to the Arizona Legislature, and if adopted, would be of significant benefit to our residents. Like my previous travel report, I will only be covering the sessions chose to attend. I will add that with more than 25 educational sessions on topics ranging from fundamentals of local government, council-manager relations, and legislative issues, to sessions on water, recycling, economic development, Census 2020, public universities and short-term rentals, my take-aways from this trip may greatly differ from that of my colleagues.

Highlights from Tuesday Night and Wednesday:

For me, the conference started Tuesday night with the APS Dinner. There we heard from Senator Martha McSally on what she is doing at a federal level to make Arizona a better state in which to live, work, and play.

During the dinner I also had the opportunity to meet and connect with Mayors, Council Members, and State Representatives, most of which I had not met prior to that night.

The following morning, I was at the conference center early. I had the honor and privilege of representing the City of Sierra Vista in the Parade of Flags, which also meant I had to attend practice at 7:00am to prepare before the General Session starting at 9:00am. The Parade of Flags is a LACT tradition that highlights Arizona’s cities and towns at the beginning of every annual conference. Side note: I've had some people ask me what our flag looks like, so with help from a kind stranger, I took a picture of it before practice. You can see it has our seal but wondered about the rest of the design for the flag. So after a little bit of research, I found out that back in 2001 council approved a resolution to adopt a new design concept for a city flag as recommended by the Arts and Humanities Commission. From the official minutes: "Chad White, Chairman of the Arts and Humanities Commission, briefed Council and the public. He gave a brief description of the three designs and outlined the artists' intentions.

Council agreed that they preferred Design 1, which was created by Larry Scott. Council stated they would like to see design modifications, which would include: the City seal being copper with an apron attached containing the date of the City’s incorporation, the red should be a cardinal red, the mountain peeks should be more rounded, and the birds should look less like seagulls and more like raptors." And now back to our regularly scheduled travel report...

The opening general session on Wednesday started off with a keynote address; the president’s report; and the followed by the Parade of Flags. Speakers for this session were: Maricopa Mayor and League President, Christian Price, City of Tucson Host Mayor, Jonathan Rothschild, The University of Arizona President, Robert Robbins, National League of Cities First Vice President and Los Angeles Councilmember, Joe Buscaino, and Keynote speaker and author John O’Leary. John's job was to inspire all of us public servants before we headed into our first sessions, and boy did he. He shared his story of survival and how the kind and continuous acts of a stranger inspired him to heal and become the man he is today. He reminded all of us in the room that what we do as elected officials is not about us, and urged us to ask ourselves on a regular basis, "What more can I do?"