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Tigard mayor visited with other mayors in Washington, D.C., for annual conference.

Twice a year the US Conference of Mayors has a three-day meeting of over 275 mayors from all over. This included large cities such as New York and Los Angeles to small ones such as Tukwila, Wash., and Belleville, Mich.; from far away as Anchorage and Honolulu, and Quebec and Puerto Rico. Tigard Mayor John Cook

Cities of all sizes are allowed to attend and join, but only cities larger than 30,000 population are allowed to have a vote. The winter conference is in Washington, D.C., each year where we meet with members of Congress, the president's secretaries and other dignitaries.

The summer conference travels to a different location in the United States each year; the 2018 one will be held in Boston, where we vote on resolutions to decide what to lobby for in the following year.

Eight local mayors attended last week; Portland, Vancouver, Gresham, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Happy Valley. I attended sessions on water, affordable housing, education and workforce development, broadband, homelessness, immigration and small businesses.

I sit on the Mayors Water Council and two committees; Transportation & Communications, Tourism/Arts/Parks/Entertainment & Sports.

The speakers are excellent, the sessions are fantastic, but I get the most out of just talking with all of the other mayors. First off, they are just amazing, down-to-earth people. Secondly, you can learn something from each of them no matter the size of their city. And lastly, they are the most gracious, giving group of elected officials you ever will meet.

I have gained many friendships that will last a lifetime. The organization is non-partisan, and we all try to promote what is best for the cities and their citizens.

John Cook is mayor of Tigard.

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