Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Local City Policy Maker Takes the Lead on a National Level

What inspires city council member Michael Wojcik these days? A passion for transportation and making sure that workers can find affordable housing in his community of Rochester, MN.

That's why he advocates for local and national policies that will benefit his constituents.

Late last week, Wojcik joined more than 200 other local elected officials from all across the nation for three days of policy workshops and policy committee meetings at the National League of Cities (NLC) Summer Policy Forum in St. Paul. The forum is held annually in a NLC member city.

Wojcik serves as the vice-chair of NLC's Community and Economic Development Committee (CED), one of seven NLC policy committees that met in St. Paul. Elected officials from cities as diverse as Wichita, KS and Broken Arrow, OK also serve as CED committee chairs.

The CED is responsible for developing policy positions on issues that extend into such far-reaching topics as land use, recreation and parks, historic preservation, and international competitiveness.

Those policy positions will be used by NLC staff and member cities to lobby at the federal government level for city-friendly legislation.

"In Rochester, I've been quite outspoken about the issue of affordable housing, and that's one of the policy areas of focus for CED," says Wojcik. "Through my NLC work, I've learned how other cities similar to Rochester are dealing with housing needs, as well as transportation issues related to local workforces."

Wojcik says he's also learned there's no such thing as a one-size-fits-all policy solution. "While our communities all have some things in common, we still need to consider size differences, regional differences, and many other factors," he said. Sounds a lot like the legislative policy development process for cities right here in Minnesota, doesn't it?

NLC's executive director Clarence Anthony, formerly the mayor of South Bay, FL was among the St. Paul Policy Forum presenters that also included officials from the Federal Communications Commission.

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