Stephen J. Murphy and Ayanna Pressley
In the wake of the bombings in Boston Massachusetts earlier this month, our hearts and minds turned to the cities of Boston and Cambridge. We watched proudly as Democratic Municipal Officials there rose to the occasion. Today we honor two of them as our DMOs of the Month.
Stephen J. Murphy, At-Large Member and President of the Boston City Council, was just steps away when the bombs exploded. Council President Murphy spent the hours and days after the event reflecting on his own near-miss, but also helping Bostonians and the rest of us understand what had happened from a human perspective. He presented a calm face to the media and was an important voice in how the story got told.
Here are two news reports featuring DMO of the Month Steve Murphy:
Our co-honoree this month is Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley. Pressley was featured by Black Entertainment Television at BET.com for her immediate spring into action after the bombings occurred. They tell her story well.
From virtually the moment she heard the news of the explosions, Ayanna Pressley’s life has been nothing short of a whirlwind.
Pressley, a member of the Boston City Council, has been meeting with local agencies, constituents and a wide array of Bostonians in an effort to bring assistance to people who have been affected by the bombings at the city’s marathon Monday afternoon.
"There are some pressing needs in this city,” Pressley said, in an interview with BET.com. "For one thing, people need information. And they need to know the resources that are available to them. And I see my role as helping to connect people with those resources.”
She spent time with residents in her neighborhood of Dorchester, many of them emotionally overcome by the death of 8-year-old Martin Richard, the third grader who was standing near the finish line to cheer on family friends who were running in the race.
"They are neighbors of mine and fixtures in the community,” she added. "Many of us in the neighborhood were together, everyone embracing each other and holding each other up.”...
Municipal officials, their staff, families and volunteers are often found on the front line when tragedy strikes their communities. We honor two of them today as fine examples who help us tell the story of the work our members are doing across our country in ways big and small every day.
Sandra Colvin Roy and R.T. Rybak
Meet Sandra Colvin Roy and R.T. Rybak, City Council Member and Mayor, Minneapolis - DMOs of the Month for September
This month we recognize the tenure of two fantastic outgoing Democratic Municipal Officials. Sandra Colvin Roy represents Minneapolis’ 12th Ward as Councilwoman, promoting public safety and local infrastructure. R.T. Rybak is the city’s Mayor, and makes a special effort to personally engage his constituents. Both are exemplars of Democratic service, and share a passion for modern transit and community outreach. Council Member Colvin Roy and Mayor Rybak have each decided not to seek re-election. This September we honor the service of two municipal officials who uphold our Democratic values in word and deed.
First elected to the City Council in 1997, Council Member Colvin Roy has a history of local activism. Public safety is one of her core issues, whether it’s reducing neighborhood crime or campaigning to stop domestic violence. Sandra is a key advocate for Restorative Justice, working to end cycles of abuse. She is also a major proponent of firefighters in Minneapolis, ensuring they have the staff to handle any emergency.
Sandra Colvin Roy serves as a Democrat of note both locally and nationally. She has contributed to the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, is President of the National Organization to Insure a Sound-controlled Environment, and works with the Blue Water Partnership. Council Member Colvin Roy is active in the National League of Cities, serving on the Board of Directors and as Chair of the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Steering Committee. And of course, Sandy is a member of the DMO Board of Directors and our Minnesota State Chair.
Council Member Colvin Roy and Mayor Rybak both share a passion for advocacy. The environment and climate change play a critical role in how they affect policy, ensuring new infrastructure and city works limit their potential environmental impact. Both are proponents of modern transportation, moving Minneapolis forward with Light Rail and other rapid transit systems. Councilwoman Colvin Roy chairs the Transportation and Public Works committee, as well as the city’s Rail Policy Group. Mayor Rybak serves on the Board of Directors of Nice Ride Minnesota, bringing modern bike sharing programs to the city. Their forward thinking and dedication to the public helps secure a better future for Minneapolis.
First elected in 2001, Mayor Rybak engages his city directly on the issues. With the passage of marriage equality in Minnesota, he is encouraging LGBT couples from across the Midwest to plan their weddings in Minneapolis. It’s no surprise that R.T. is also a regular participant in the Minneapolis Pride Parade. Whether it’s reducing gun violence, fighting for equal opportunity in Minneapolis’ schools, or promoting responsible immigration reform, R.T. takes a strong and progressive stand on the Democratic causes that affect us all. Mayor Rybak is so representative of our Democratic values that he sits as one of the five Vice Chairs of the DNC, and as President of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors.
R.T. Rybak is also a pro at connecting with his constituents. An avid Facebook and Twitter user, he keeps Minneapolis up to date with The Mayor Blog. Social media gives Mayor Rybak the time to explain complex issues with the length and clarity they deserve, but also helps keep the city informed about everyday municipal projects. Mayor Rybak is a regular at local events, rallies, and protests, speaking with passionate citizens as they make a difference in their city. Voters have the opportunity to speak their minds, and he has the time to respond face to face. R.T. Rybak maintains a dialogue with his city, and in doing so defines his values and his policies better than any article or interview could.
Whether they’re drawing attention to national issues or discussing municipal works in a newsletter, Sandra Colvin Roy and R.T. Rybak are DMOs to their core. Elected officials like Council Member Colvin Roy and Mayor Rybak show that Democrats have the ideas to improve our cities and the passion to bring about that change. With new technology and face to face interaction, they go the extra mile in serving the city of Minneapolis. Democratic Municipal Officials is pleased to honor Mayor R.T. Rybak and Councilwoman Sandra Colvin Roy as our DMOs of the Month. We can’t wait to see where their futures take them, but we know their foundation in municipal leadership will serve them well.
James Mitchell, Jr. and Greg Pettis
DMO of the Year 2012
Meet our DMO of the Year
As Democratic leaders across the country pack our bags to head to Charlotte, NC for the Democratic National Convention, the DMO leadership does so with very special place in our hearts for Charlotte. And we name our DMO of the Month from Charlotte.
Our beloved and late Chair Emeritus, Susan Burgess served as Mayor Pro-Tem and City Council Member in Charlotte until her passing in 2010. She was instrumental in bringing the Convention to Charlotte, and the City of Charlotte is honoring her today. DMO will honor her at our reception on Wednesday with our Susan Burgess Memorial Award for a DMO committed to improving public education. Mayor Chris Coleman (St. Paul) was our 2011 honoree. Come meet our 2012 honoree, and say hello to Susan's family who will join us as our special guests.
James is a compassionate leader in his community and is a strong national leader. He exemplifies what we look for in DMO leaders. Municipal leaders across this country are helping to move Democratic priorities at the local level, they are insisting that local concerns be heard and acted upon at the national level, and they are serving their communities every single day.
Read more about our friend James Mitchell, Jr., and then come celebrate with us in James' and Susan's beautiful City of Charlotte, NC (or cheer us on from your television set) as Democrats unite, organize, and recharge for the work ahead. Together, with the spirit of Charlotte behind us, we will ensure Democratic victories across the country and we, as DMOs, will be the force that ensures those victories.
Meet our DMO of the Year
Greg Pettis, Councilman, Cathedral City, CA
California is best known for its temperate climate and palm trees. Nestled between Palm Springs and RanchoMirage, Cathedral City is small in population but towers above other cities in innovative environmental and community health programs.
Councilman Greg Pettis led the way in a long list of progressive public policy initiatives. Since his election to the City Council in 1994, Pettis has worked tirelessly to help build an economically vibrant community and strong neighborhoods. A true leader, Pettis volunteered to serve as DMO's founding California State Chair and has successfully organized DMO's first official State Chapter which will be formally chartered at our March 13 National Breakfast Meeting in Washington DC. With the backing of his fellow DMO Chapter officers, Mayor Gilbert Wong of Cupertino and Council Member Sedalia Sanders of El Centro, Pettis is poised to make DMO a strong force in California this year. For this leadership and much more, DMO is proud to name Greg Pettis our January DMO of the Month.
From an early age, Greg Pettis felt the call of public service. Inspired by a speech by Robert Kennedy in 1968, Pettis continuously strives to push the boundaries of what is possible to make Cathedral City a community to thousands of residents and thriving businesses.
Among his accomplishments: creating a first-time homebuyer program for his constituency; instituting the "Safe Routes to School” program in his community—a program which serves to tear down the barriers and improve the infrastructure for children who walk or bike to school; and revitalizing Cathedral City's downtown core, bringing business and critical jobs to the community. In his capacity as Managing Director of the Institute for Environmental Sustainability at California State University, he is educating the next generation on critical environmental issues affecting us all. But Pettis has not stopped there. He works diligently with police and social service agencies to combat the methamphetamine epidemic which is destroying young lives and breaking up families.
In an effort to promote a healthy community and combat the raging epidemic of childhood obesity, Greg Pettis began the HEAL Cities Campaign (healthy eating active living) in Cathedral City—part of a national health initiative to promote healthy eating and wellness education to the most vulnerable populations in cities across the country. Leading this initiative for his community, Pettis collaborated with the local Rotary Club (in which he is serves as president) to create community gardens in disadvantaged communities. With a childhood obesity rate of almost 30 percent, Cathedral City was the perfect place to pilot this successful program.
Greg Pettis is a strong leader in Cathedral City, California. He has enacted effective public policy measures for his constituency in the areas of health, safety, the environment and education, and Pettis is ready to lead California's new State Chapter as Democratic Municipal Officials' State Chair.
Pettis is a thoughtful and engaged Democratic Municipal Official and DMO is proud to make him our DMO of the Month.
Gretchen Driskell, Mayor of Saline, Michigan
The first woman elected to the office of mayor in the United States was Susanna Salter who took office in Argonia, Kansas in 1887. This was the first time a woman was elected to any political office in the United States. However, it wasn’t until nearly a century later that Ruth Braden McNamee was elected the first woman mayor in the State of Michigan when she was elected in Birmingham in 1970.
Today we honor another history-making female mayor as our DMO of the Month. Mayor Gretchen Driskell is the first woman elected Mayor of Saline, Michigan, and holds the distinction of being Saline’s longest serving Mayor. Gretchen Driskell is our DMO of the Month for her leadership both locally and nationally. She began her political career as a member of the Saline city council in 1993 where she served until she was elected Mayor in 1999. She is a board member of the National League of Cities. She is a former Vice President and board member of the Michigan Municipal League.
Grethen Driskell is working with us to engage fellow Democratic Municipal Officials in Michigan in our work, in hopes of starting a DMO chapter there this year. She is also working with us at our request to help arrange a tele-conference training for DMO’s to make us aware of the actions Michigan’s Governor has taken to wrest control from municipal governments.
Republican Governor Rick Snyder has begun the process that would allow him to take over Detroit and suggests the city of Inkster may also be ripe for his picking. He has already wrested control from Benton Harbor and Pontiac. A court overturned his action in Flint. If the State takes control of Detroit and Inkster, over 50% of African Americans in Michigan will be without elected local governments. This raises many concerns, so stay tuned for our upcoming training and when it occurs, thank Mayor Driskell for her leadership.
Mayor Driskell runs a city with a plan. She and the Saline City Council invite active citizen participation in the planning and implementation of their objectives. They utilize the Michigan Municipal League toolbox and guidelines for identifying the key assets found in successful 21st century communities. Find that resource here: http://www.mml.org/resources/21c3/. The League studies national best practices on successful place-making, enabling the city to further develop a vibrant community.
Read more about the Saline Strategic Plan
Mayor Driskell led the efforts that brought the first farmers’ market to Saline and created Saline’s first historic district. During her service as Mayor, Saline has been repeatedly selected by CNN’s Money magazine as one of the "Best Small Cities to Live.” We congratulate and commend her on her many accomplishments for her community, for Democrats and for representing women so remarkably in local government.
Rahm Emanuel Presides as Mayor of Chicago
and is our DMO of the Month
The first executive order prohibits new appointees from lobbying city government for two years after leaving their positions with the administration. Lower level employees are barred from lobbying the departments or agencies in which they work and appointees to boards and omissions are barred from lobbying the board or commission on which they sit. The second executive order protects City employees against pressure to give gifts or make political contributions to their superiors, including department heads and the Mayor. The third executive order prohibits city lobbyists from making political contributions to the Mayor.
Mayor Emanuel also reissued three important executive orders on ethics that were originally signed by Mayor Daley. These include a ban on political contributions to the Mayor from the owners of companies that do business with the City, an order requiring City employees to comply with the hiring oversight rules adopted in connection with a federal court decree prohibiting political hiring and firing, and an order reaffirming that it is the duty of every city employee to report wrongdoing to the city’s Inspector General.
Days later, Mayor Emanuel signed an executive order creating a long-term budget and financial planning process for the City of Chicago.
"It is our responsibility to make sure that we are spending the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars wisely," said Mayor Emanuel. "Without planning for the future, beyond the next year, we cannot guarantee we are doing the best we can for the City of Chicago or Chicago residents."
Mayor Emanuel signed the executive order at an elementary school after speaking to a 4th grade class about the importance of long-term planning.
The executive order tasks the city’s Office of Budget and Management and the members of the Mayor’s Council on Budget, Business Development and Economic Issues with preparing an Annual Financial Analysis. Input will be sought from City departments, sister agencies, the City Council and other relevant stakeholders.
The Annual Financial Analysis will include a trend analysis of all city funds; a financial forecast including a three-year baseline forecast and a three-year alternative forecast; and analyses of the City’s reserves, capital program, debt, liabilities, and financial policies. All assumptions used in forecasting will be clearly stated.
In keeping with the new Mayor’s commitment to making Chicago’s city government more transparent and accountable, the Annual Financial Analysis will be available in searchable format on the City’s website. Members of the public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed Annual Financial Analysis.
The Chicago City Council consists of 50 aldermen, each representing a district of roughly 60,000 residents. Thirteen new aldermen were elected this term.
"The Mayor and the City Council face some monumental challenges and no doubt, as time goes on, sharp disagreements will arise. That is the nature of democracy. But Mayor Emanuel and the new City Council are off to a good start with both a seriousness of purpose and optimism for the future. The next four years should be a good ride."
DMO salutes Rahm Emanuel for his lifetime of service to the Democratic Party.
Rahm Emanuel served as senior advisor to President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1998 and as a member of the House of Representatives, representing Illinois's 5th congressional district, from 2003 to 2009 when he left to take up his position in the Obama Administration.
Emanuel chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2006 mid-term elections and remained a top strategist for House Democrats during the 2008 cycle. After we regained control of the House in 2006, Emanuel was elected chairman of the Democratic Caucus. This made him the fourth-ranking House Democrat, behind Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
As White House Chief of Staff, Emanuel was one of the most influential people in the world, but in his new position he has achieved his life-long goal of being Mayor of the City of Chicago, proving that serving as a DMO is to hold the "highest office," the office closest to the people.
Vice Mayor, Cambridge, Massachusetts