DMO Supports the Creation of the DNC Disability Caucus

Members of the Democratic National Committee,


Democratic Municipal Officials stands in support of the proposal to transform the DNC Disability Council into a caucus.

The purpose of a membership caucus within the DNC is to provide an organized coalition for those who share an inherent or immutable trait. A DNC caucus would fulfill this role for the disability community.

The Democratic Party has always been a home for people who are marginalized because of their backgrounds. Transforming the Disability Council into a caucus will take us one step further as a Party towards ensuring that every American can expect a government that provides not mere equality, but true equity for its citizens.

DMO applauds the work of Representative Tony Coelho for his work chairing the DNC Disability Council. His work advocating for Americans with disabilities, in particular those with “invisible disabilities” which are not always readily apparent, is a testimony to his character and the values of the Democratic Party. We know that his work will continue as the DNC forms the Disability Caucus.


Derek Green

Councilman At-large, Philadelphia, PA

DNC Executive Committee Member

President, Democratic Municipal Officials

DMO Announces Blue Star Candidates from Washington State

DMO is please to announce the following candidates from Washington state have been accredited Blue Star Candidate status.

  • Jennifer Gregorson in her race for Mukilteo Mayor
  • Dexter Borbe in his race for Bellevue Council Position 2
  • Adrienne Fraley-Monalis in her race for Edmonds Council Position 3
  • Karl DeJong in his race for Sedro Woolley Council
  • Zack Zappone in his race for Spokane Council, District 3
  • Jacquelyn Blelock in her race for Cheney Council, Position 3
  • Danny Herrera in his race for Yakima Council, District 2
  • Krystal Marx in her race for Burien Council Position 7
  • Mohamed Egal in his race for SeaTac Council Position 4
  • Naghmana Sherazi in her race for Spokane Council, District 1
  • Nicole Thomas-Kennedy in her race for Seattle City Attorney

Happy Labor Day from DMO’s Labor Council

As city leaders, we know that good jobs mean stronger communities. Not only do fair wages put more money in your pocket, they help narrow the wealth gap between men and women, and between white Americans and Americans of color. And there is no price you can put on going to a workplace where you know you will be treated with respect.

This Labor Day, let us remember that each benefit, safety feature, and act of respect had to be fought for and won by workers who organized for our collective rights. You and I still reap the rewards of their struggles.

How can you continue to make sure all Americans enjoy the benefits of organized Labor?

  • Support the PRO Act by calling your Senators and urging their support.
  • Encourage your member of Congress to pass the full Infrastructure Bill.
  • Visit your local apprenticeship training centers and union shops to learn about their work and hear their stories.
  • Implement Community Workforce Agreements as part of local Labor projects.
  • Contact Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org to learn how to join the DMO Labor Council.

We especially want to thank the Labor organizations on our National Advisory Board who contribute to this work; the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, the International Association of Bridge, Structural, and Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers, International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, The Laborers’ International Union of North America, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the United Auto Workers.

Whether at our roundtables, at rallies, or in refusing to cross a picket line, DMO serves as the bridge between our Democratic leaders and unions to keep our cities running powerfully, effectively, and inclusively. As a member of the DMO Labor Council, you can share updates from your state with national Labor leaders, learn about the national issues impacting workers’ rights in your community, and engage in roundtables that provide resources you can bring back to your city to build better jobs. If you would like to get involved in the DMO Labor Council, contact Nils Robbins at Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org.

Happy Labor Day,

Derek Green
DMO President
Philadelphia At-Large City Council Member


DMO State Chapter Chairs & Liaisons

Jesse Matthews Chair Council Member Bessemer Alabama
Lauren Kuby Liaison Council Member Tempe Arizona
D’Andre Jones Chair Council Member Fayetteville Arkansas
Kathy Webb Liaison City Director Little Rock Arkansas
Bob Blumenfield Chair Council Member Los Angeles California
Andrea Samson Chair Councilor Loveland Colorado
Wendy Davis Chair Commissioner Rome Georgia
Gilbert Villegas Chair Alderman Illinois Illinois
Jared Evans Liaison Councillor Indianapolis Indiana
Justin Shore Liaison Council Member Clearwater Kansas
Bill Hollander Liaison Council Member Louisville Kentucky
Denise Mitchell Chair Council Member College Park Maryland
Nicole LaChapelle Chair Mayor Easthampton Massachusetts
Angela Rogensues Chair Council Member Warren Michigan
Gary Hansen Chair Council Member Eagan Minnesota
Jon Engen Chair Mayor Missoula Montana
Stacie Anderson Liaison Council Member Missoula Montana
Chris James Chair Council Member East Orange New Jersey
Gill Sorg Liaison Councilor Las Cruces New Mexico
Judith Beville Chair Clerk Greenburgh New York
Ian Baltutis Chair Mayor Burlington North Carolina
Luke Feeney Chair Mayor Chillicothe Ohio
Matt Keating Liaison Councilor Eugene Oregon
Derek Green Chair At-Large Council Member Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Tameika Isaac Devine Chair Councilwoman Columbia South Carolina
Jim Shulman Chair Vice Mayor Nashville Tennessee
Brandon Jones Liaison Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Lewisville Texas
Michael Jones Liaison Council Member Richmond Virginia
Christopher Roberts Chair Council Member Shoreline Washington
Luke Fuszard Chair Alder Middleton Wisconsin
Erin O’Doherty Liaison Council Member Laramie Wyoming


Business Council Resources from the DMO Retreat

DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. Their contact information will be included below. We encourage you to reach out to secure their resources for your city!

This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Business Council panels. You can view Monday’s email on our Policy Panel here, and Wednesday’s coverage of our Labor Panel here.

Business Council

(Doing Business in Detroit. From left to right: Donnell White, Steve Ogden, Craig D’Agostini, David Meador, Scott Benson)

Wednesday’s lunch brought the opening of the business portion of our Retreat. We kicked everything off with an address from Tom Lutz, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, which was followed by a short video on the Capenters. Then we continued with a panel on Doing Business in Detroit. Our National President and Detroit host Scott Benson moderated, with Craig D’Agostini from Comcast, David Meador from DTE Energy, Steve Ogden from Quicken Loans, and Donnell White of Chemical Financial Corporation joining the discussion. These business leaders from Detroit shared their companies’ experiences working in the city, public private partnerships, and how they work to ensure they are good corporate citizens. They also discussed their roles in workforce development. Both Comcast and Quicken mentioned their annual days of action, where employees are encouraged to participate in charitable work in the community.

(Breaking Ground on Affordable Housing. From left to right: Patti Shwayder, Fred Tayco, Michelle Frisk, Chuck Lesnick, LaWana Mayfield)

We continued with Breaking Ground on Affordable Housing. The discussion was led by Charlotte Council Member LaWana Mayfield, and the panel consisted of Michelle Frisk from the Ironworkers, former DMO Board Member Chuck Lesnick, Patti Shwayder from Aimco, and Fred Tayco from the National Apartment Association.

Chuck Lesnick presented on how Opportunity Zones could be used to promote the creation of new affordable housing projects. He also put forward the idea of deferring property taxes on new buildings in developing areas, and making opt out pricing for affordable units at least twice the amount of building one, to avoid the market incentivizing opt outs. Patti Shwayder noted that rents on average are actually increasing at a rate below inflation, counter to common perception. She also pushed against rent control, noting that more expensive units in a building can be used to subsidize affordable housing units in the same location. The Ironworkers recommended that any new housing created should be done under a project labor agreement, with pre-hire agreements for workers.

The first day of the conference ended with a panel on Rising Together: Exploring Solutions to Poverty in Our CommunitiesWe heard from DMO President Emeritus and former Tampa Council Member Mike Suarez headed the panel, with members including Arthur Jemison from the Detroit Mayor’s Office, Detroit Council President Brenda Jones, Lauren Neill from T-Mobile, and Tony Williams from Comcast.

Wednesday’s dinner was held at the historic Castle Hall restaurant, a short walking distance from the MGM Grand hotel. There we premiered the new DMO Introduction Video, crafted by alumni and former Malibu Mayor Lou La Monte. Lou spent much of the Retreat continuing his work recording our Board and Advisory Board members for future video projects, with filming courtesy of Comcast.

Thursday began with an experiment, a “speed dating” style set of National Advisory Board Conversations. Guests spent time at individual high tops featuring Retreat sponsors and Advisory Board members including HMS Host, Ford Motor Company, Mosaic Strategies Group, and American Water Resources. Some good connections were made, and in the future we plan on lengthening the time spent at each station to encourage more in depth conversations.

(Managing Waste for Green Cities. From left to right Kerrin O’Brien, David Segall, Susan Moulton, David Biderman, Ian Baltutis)

Next up was our panel on Managing Waste for Green Cities. DMO Council of State Chapters Chair and Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis ran the session. He was joined by David Biderman of the Solid Waste Association of North America, Susan Moulton of Waste Management, Kerrin O’Brien of Michigan Recycling Coalition, and David Segall of Recycle Track Systems.

The key issue covered was how China has stopped accepting recycling material from the US, creating a glut at home and the need to reuse trash domestically. Panelists encouraged the crowd to increase pickup costs as prices respond to the market, but stressed that it is essential to educate the public as to why. Education is also particularly useful in preventing non-recyclable materials from entering the stream. An ‘Oops Tag‘ is one way to inform the public when unusable material has been mistakenly recycled.

(Open Government, Transparency, and Inclusion. From left to right Derek Green, Gil Villegas, Mike Mattson, Bob Blumenfield, Pat Furey)

Closing out our Advisory Board portion of the Retreat was a discussion on Open Government, Transparency and Inclusion. Our final panel was led by DMO Secretary and Torrance Mayor Pat Furey, and joined by LA Councilman Bob Blumenfield, Philadelphia Councilman Derek Green, Chicago Alderman and DMO Board Member Gil Villegas, and Mike Mattson from OpenGov. Participants discussed the use of data in municipal government, effective ways of using and sharing that information, and case studies that show increased performance and results.

Panelists discussed the necessary difficulty of asking city bureaucracy to be vulnerable and open to sharing information. Incentives drive this change in culture, with carrots outweighing the feared stick of being discovered making a mistake. Open government can be a tool for making life easier for residents, such as allowing parking on street cleaning days immediately after the sweeper has passed. Most important, remember that if you’re not telling your story, someone else is.

Tune in tomorrow for the final email in our installment. We will be covering the strategic planning updates from the DMO Board of Directors.

Labor Resources from the DMO Retreat

DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. We encourage you to get in touch with our labor partners to secure their insight and resources for your city. Email me at Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org for their information.

This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Labor Council panel. You can view Monday’s email on our Policy Panel here.


(DMO Labor Panel. From left to right: Christine Senteno, Britton Loftin, Tyler Longpine, Michelle Frisk, Derek Green)

Following our policy discussion came Hot Topics for 2020 with Cities and Labor. The Labor Council panel, moderated by Philadelphia City Council Member and DMO Labor Council Chair Derek Green, highlighted the work of our Labor partners from the Ironworkers, the Painters, and Teamsters. The Ironworkers’ Michelle Frisk, Ph.D talked about how many labor unions are shifting from federal level activism to state and local activism. She reported that they are getting a lot more done at the at state, county, and city levels to ensure workers are paid fairly and have safe workplaces. She updated DMO on so called Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) and reminded electeds on how these certifications can trick cities into employing non-union companies held to a sub-industry standard.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades were represented by Britton Loftin, who was hopeful about union support despite attacks on Labor from conservatives who have consistently tried to reduce workplace standards. He pointed out that if the building trade apprenticeship programs were a university, they would be the biggest university system in the United States. They are training workers and providing a pathway to the middle class. While good training is incredibly important, it is only the first step. Among many other laws, IUPAT has been advocating PRO Act – Protecting the Right to Organize that safeguards workers trying to organize a union. It strengthens workers’ rights to conduct organizing campaigns to form a union, hold elections, and get to the bargaining table. This is one of the issues UAW employees are fighting for as their strike continues. Another is giving temporary workers the opportunity to become full-time workers who can join a union and have a voice on the job. Temp workers have in some cases been working for GM for two or three years and are still not considered regular employees.

Panelist and Teamsters Political Director Tyler Longpine used the example of the Los Angeles Port workers who made strides when they were legally classified as employees, thereby gaining the opportunity to join a union. As part of the Teamsters, they fought for back pay from employers who engaged in unfair labor practices. They also entered into Labor Peace Agreements with employers, which allowed union neutrality in exchange for a stop to strike actions and other actions that called out employers publicly. Longpine also gave credit to courageous local Democratic leaders such as Los Angeles City Council Member and DMO President Emeritus Joe Buscaino. Buscaino was critical in helping to develop Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) in Los Angeles. He called out bad employers at the Port of LA, and sought to replace them with companies with higher labor standards. Those standards were not only good for the workers but also for the city as a whole, Longpine pointed out. AFSCME shared an informative one pager on PLAs with DMOs as part of the panel.

Want to learn more about the organized labor terms used in this email? Get in touch with Christine.Senteno@NationalDMO.org or attend one of our regional City, Labor, and Jobs roundtables.

(DMO Members on strike with UAW Local 22, including Savannah Alderman Van Johnson, Northfield Council Member Suzie Nakasian, and Burlington Mayor Ian Baltutis. To learn more, read Friday’s installment of our Retreat Recap!)

Policy Resources from the DMO Retreat

DMO held our annual Board Retreat in beautiful Detroit this past September. We wanted to send an overview of the Retreat so that our full membership could benefit from the resources we discussed during the week, and connect with our national partners. We encourage you to get in touch with our policy partners to secure their resources for your city. Email me at Nils.Robbins@NationalDMO.org for their information.

This email is part of a multi-day series on the DMO Retreat. Today we will cover the Policy Council panel.


(DMO Policy Panel. From left to right: Dan Besse, Sara Jordan, Sarah Curmi, Xavier Persad, Lynne Bowman)

We kicked off the Retreat with a discussion of Hot Topics for 2020 with Cities and Policy, hosted by our own Policy, Labor, and Intergovernmental Affairs Advisor and Winston-Salem Council Member Dan Besse. We were joined by Sarah Curmi from EMILY’s List, Sara Jordan from the League of Conservation Voters, and Xavier Persand and Lynne Bowman from the Human Rights campaign.

Below are a few of the ideas and resources we discussed during the hour. If any of these tips gives you an idea for a new city policy or ordinance, I know our partners would be happy to help you craft one! 

Emily’s List

  • Take advantage of the candidate training center at https://trainingcenter.emilyslist.org/.
  • DMOs can get more involved by prospecting candidates for state office from municipal leadership.


Human Rights Campaign

  • Pass a comprehensive non-discrimination ordinance.
  • Appoint a LGBTQ Liaison to your police or city executive. Even if you don’t have it in the budget to hire staff, a volunteer community liaison can provide your city with public buy in and valuable insights.
  • Institute a “conversion therapy” ban ordinance.
  • See how your city compares to others across the nation in terms of LGBT friendly policy with the Municipal Equality Index. You can also check out your state with their State Equality Index.


Sierra Club

The policy section concluded with a presentation on preparing for the 2020 Census, led by DMO Labor Chair and Philadelphia Councilman Derek Green. Readying your community now, training organizers, and making sure residents are educated in advance will make the difference in making sure everyone is counted. Remember, an accurate census count is about ensuring your communities have the resources they need over the next decade.

Are you interested in doing more to help cities implement these types of policy initiatives? Join the DMO Policy Council. Get in touch with Dan.Besse@NationalDMO.org for more information.

We will return tomorrow with news and resources from the Labor Panel at our Board Retreat.