News Releases

Mayors Head to South by Southwest to Talk Future of Cities
U.S. Conference of Mayors Delegation Includes Steve Benjamin (Columbia), Pete Buttigieg (South Bend), Nan Whaley (Dayton), Francis Suarez (Miami), Michael Tubbs (Stockton), Dee Margo (El Paso) and Steve Adler (Austin)
Thursday, March 7 - Sunday, March 10, 2019
**PRESS AVAIL WITH MAYORS: Sunday, March 10 at 9:30 am CST**

AUSTIN, Texas, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 20 mayors from across the country will head to Austin, TX this week for South by Southwest (SXSW), the world-famous event that brings together new ideas, emerging technologies, and a prolific concentration of cross-industry thought leaders. As part of the annual gathering, mayors will participate in Civic I/O, the Mayors Summit at SXSW, an event that was created in partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors, South by Southwest and the Office of Austin Mayor Steve Adler. Civic I/O immerses forward-thinking mayors from around the country with the most innovative technologists, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and creatives during SXSW. Mayors will participate in a series of interactive discussions that will focus on how cities can leverage emerging technologies to tackle some of the biggest civic and municipal challenges.

U.S. Conference of Mayors. (PRNewsFoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors) (PRNewsfoto/U.S. Conference of Mayors)

Participating Mayors include:
Steve Adler, Austin (TX)
Bryan Barnett, Rochester Hills (MI)
Shane Bemis, Gresham (OR)
Steve Benjamin, Columbia (SC)
Pete Buttigieg, South Bend (IN)
Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento (CA)
David Condon, Spokane (WA)
Jorge Elorza, Providence (RI)
John Giles, Mesa (AZ)
Daniel Horrigan, Akron (OH)
Tim Keller, Albuquerque (NM)
Chris Koos, Normal (IL)
Harry LaRosiliere, Plano (TX)
Sam Liccardo, San Jose (CA)
Dee Margo, El Paso (TX)
Tony Martinez, Brownsville (TX)
Adrian Perkins, Shreveport (LA)
Betsy Price, Fort Worth (TX)
Mike Rawlings, Dallas (TX)
Francis Suarez, Miami (FL)
Michael Tubbs, Stockton (CA)
Alan Webber, Santa Fe (NM)
Nan Whaley, Dayton (OH)

On Sunday, March 10 at 11 am, Civic I/O will showcase the Mayors Matchup: Tech Innovation Pitch Competition where emerging companies will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to address challenges facing cities in a "Shark Tank"-style forum. A panel of mayors and industry experts will serve as judges and award $10,000 to the winner. Last year's first place winner was Biobot Analytics, which uses cutting-edge technology to transform sewers into public health observatories. Their product, the Opioid Consumption Monitoring (OCM) Program is helping address the nation's opioid drug crisis by gathering data before opioid use results in arrests and deaths by overdose. The company has conducted pilot programs in Boston, Cary (NC), Kuwait and South Korea.

Featured SXSW Panels include:

The City Hall Blueprint For Running the Country
March 10, 2019 | 2:00PM3:00PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN, SALON C
Featuring South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Dallas (TX) Mayor Mike Rawlings, and Miami (FL) Mayor Francis Suarez

LBJ once said, "When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor." Mayors are executives of government who are relied on to get stuff done and can't afford to play political games or shut down their governments. As several mayors and former mayors explore their own runs for the White House, this discussion will examine the political realities of how a mayor could turn the success of running a city into a successful model for Washington. (

Out for the Count: How to Repair the Broken 2020 Census
March 9, 2019 | 2:00PM3:00PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN, SALON A
Featuring Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles

The census is more than just a survey. It is a once-a-decade head count of everyone living in our country that has a major impact on our lives. The census is used to determine such critical things as the number of seats each state has in the US House of Representatives and to how we distribute billions in federal funds to local communities. As we approach the 2020 Census, it is already fraught with major challenges. Do we have enough resources to adequately execute the census? How will the attempt to add a citizenship question impact the census? What issues exist as we shift to a digital census regarding privacy and digital access for all communities? How would a census undercount impact the country? Hear local and national leaders discuss what lies ahead for the 2020 census and what you can do about it.  (

Additional SXSW panels that feature Mayors:

Mayors, Youth, & the Fate of Cities
March 7, 2019 | 2:00PM4:30PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN, SALON J
Featuring Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis and Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza

Local leaders recognize that if they don't attend to youth outcomes, their cities have little chance of success economically, socially, or civically. Hear from mayors that are taking up the mantle to change the odds for youth in order to increase social mobility in their communities, a Denver demo on how to move systems into the 21st Century, and ideate with participants on coordinating people, using data to drive decisions, and making smart investments in children and youth. (

Communities as Health Equity Implementation Hubs
March 9, 2019 | 12:30PM1:30PM | JW MARRIOTT,  SALON 7
Featuring Brownsville (TX) Mayor Tony Martinez

Nationwide there's a growing number of models that take a collaborative, holistic approach to building just and healthy communities. From nonprofit - Way to Wellville, National Collaborative for Health Equity's HOPE Initiative - to philanthropic RWJF's Culture of Health, Aetna Foundation Healthiest Communities, to grassroots and public examples. This session will discuss how partnership, policy, open data and startup engagement can result in significant, sustainable impact in building just and healthy communities. (

Conversations About America's Future: Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Featuring South Bend (IN) Mayor Pete Buttigieg

SXSW, in collaboration with The Texas Tribune, presents Conversations About America's Future, a series of talks that will bring together some of the nation's top political leaders whose ideas and vision for the future will shape our country through 2020 and beyond. (

Transforming Cities Through Citizens
March 10, 2019 | 12:30PM1:30PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN, SALON A
Featuring San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo

Cities are facing unprecedented challenges and often lack the resources to address them. Mayors are on the front lines and the best among them are tapping into one of the most underutilized resources they have – their citizens – to help them solve some of the toughest problems they face. In a time when trust between people and government is at an all-time low, these city leaders are bringing together the knowledge and creativity of their people, the power of corporate partners, and the expertise of nonprofit organizations to deepen the impact of their work and establish new realities for their cities. This panel will explore how city leaders are leveraging public-private-nonprofit partnerships to create stronger cities, improve lives, and build trust. (

Spin Cycle: The Rise of Scooters in Cities
March 10, 2019 | 2:00PM3:00PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN SALON B
Featuring Austin (TX) Mayor Steve Adler

Urban areas are increasingly in need of mobility solutions to help residents move around. As cities seek more transportation options, an emerging innovation has inundated streets across the country: electric scooters. As more and more people find themselves zipping around town on scooters, how can cities, scooter companies, and riders ensure it's a smooth ride? This panel will explore the effect the scooter craze is having and will discuss topics ranging from regulations to public safety to infrastructure. We will highlight the benefits and challenges of adding scooters onto the streets. You will learn how cities and transportation innovators are responding to this advancement and how the lessons learned from scooters will prepare for the next wave of innovation in transportation. (

In the Red: How Americans Experience the Economy
March 11, 2019 | 5:00PM6:00PM | HILTON AUSTIN DOWNTOWN, SALON A
Featuring Columbia (SC) Mayor Steve Benjamin

The usual metrics used to assess the economy—unemployment rate, median wage, gross domestic product—fail to paint an accurate picture of the lives of American workers. Households face a host of financial difficulties, including stagnating wages, increasing expenses, and volatile income. These day-to-day experiences are not reflected in national narratives about the economy. What's truly happening financially across the U.S. and what are the greatest financial challenges facing American workers? (

2019 SXSW Meetups Featuring Mayors

Transforming Local Government Mayoral Meet Up
March 9, 2019 | 3:30PM4:30PM | FAIRMONT, SUNFLOWER
Hosted by Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley

Cities are the hub of innovation where new ideas can grow and scale. Engagement at the local level can seem like a mystery but you can make a big impact. Come meet mayors from around the country and talk to them about how to positively disrupt the status quo. (

Input Local. Output Global. City Innovation Mayoral Meet Up
March 10, 2019 | 3:30PM4:30PM | FAIRMONT, POPPY
Hosted by Miami (FL) Mayor Francis Suarez and Stockton (CA) Mayor Michael Tubbs

Local ingenuity leads to global progress. Innovation in the government and civic sector continues to grow, local leaders still face many challenges especially in the midst of round-the-clock responsibilities within their communities. Meet America's most innovative mayors who are using technology and innovation to meet their biggest challenges. Network, share, and engage with local leaders changing the face of cities. (

***NOTE: Panels will be on the record and open to media with an official SXSW badge unless otherwise indicated.  All Civic I/O evening events are closed to press.  Mayors are available for interviews while in Austin.  To arrange an interview, please contact Sara Durr at

About The United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

SOURCE U.S. Conference of Mayors

For further information: Sara Durr | | 202-215-1811