Three Broken Arrow officials join national committees
BY ZACK STOYCOFF World Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
1/09/13 at 4:50 AM
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BROKEN ARROW - The city will have a louder voice this year in a national organization that lobbies the federal government on behalf of municipalities, local officials said Monday.
The National League of Cities has appointed three Broken Arrow city councilors to committees that will direct lobbying decisions in 2013, up from two appointees last year, city spokeswoman Stephanie Higgins said.
Broken Arrow vacated its committee posts in March when it lost its League of Cities membership as a result of a decision to leave the Oklahoma Municipal League.
The city rejoined the Municipal League in October, citing compromises with the state organization on policy disagreements and the importance of membership in the group's national counterpart.
"It is extremely important for Broken Arrow to be represented nationally on these steering committees," Mayor Craig Thurmond said in a news release. "To have these councilors on three separate committees provides us an exceptional opportunity to maximize our community's access to the resources available through NLC."
Thurmond will serve on the Community and Economic Development Committee, which focuses on housing, land use, recreation and international issues; Councilor Mike Lester will participate in the Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee, which deals with crime, terrorism and court issues; and Councilor Jill Norman will sit on the Human Development Committee, which focuses on health care, immigration and other social issues.
Thurmond and Lester previously held committee assignments, Higgins said.
Each committee has about 50 members and meets several times a year, League of Cities spokesman Gregory Minchak said. The groups examine federal policies and help develop recommendations for policy changes and new policies.
Their members are selected based on a number of factors, including leadership qualities, personal backgrounds and expertise, Minchak said.
The committees "act as incubators of policy for us," he said. "They're maybe looking at things that are popping up in their communities to see if they can get federal help for local issues."
Thurmond has said membership in the organization is important because it allows officials from across the country to exchange ideas and helps Broken Arrow keep tabs on competitors in other states.
Minchak said the group is a liaison between cities and the federal government, saying it seeks to ensure that everyone on Capitol Hill understands the needs of cities.
City of Broken Arrow records indicate that it had been a League of Cities member since at least 1995, Higgins said.
Original Print Headline: BA officials named to national posts
Zack Stoycoff 918-581-8486
Mayor Craig Thurmond (from left), Councilor Mike Lester and Councilor Jill Norman: The three Broken Arrow city councilors have been appointed to National League of Cities committees.