Logo graphic for The City Speak Podcast: Short Takes on City IssuesGet short takes on city issues.

Looking for a new way to learn about topics that are important to Minnesota cities? The City Speak podcast provides short takes on city issues — from timely topics like legislative updates, to perennial content like city budgets and collaboration. You’ll hear engaging interviews and firsthand accounts of cities using their heart, hard work, and humanity as they provide excellence in city government across the state.

At less than 30 minutes apiece, you can listen to episodes of The City Speak during your drive time, on your lunch break, or while taking a walk.

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The City Speak is also available on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music, Pocketcast, and Stitcher.

Most recent episodes:

#WeGotThisSeries: Tracy Bertram

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, we talk with Becker Mayor Tracy Bertram, whose city dealt with a large fire just prior to the current COVID-19 crisis. Hear how that first incident helped to build the leadership team and trust that are so crucial today. She also shares how she makes decisions (including the toughest decision she’s made so far), what lessons the city has learned, and how impressed she is with the positivity of the people in her community and their willingness to do what’s needed to make things better for everyone. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.

#WeGotThisSeries: Andrea Lauer

In this episode of the #WeGotThis Series on pandemic response, Royalton Mayor Andrea Lauer shares the impact the COVID-19 crisis has had on her community and what it’s like to lead a city in times like these. Hear about the challenges of using technology for meetings (sound familiar?), her concerns about the safety of city staff and the survival of local businesses, and how the actions of the wonderful people in her city bring her hope and assurance that they’ll get through this together. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.

#WeGotThis Series: David Unmacht

Minnesota cities are facing the challenge of pandemic response, but working together, #WeGotThis! In this first episode of the #WeGotThis Series, we talk with League of Minnesota Cities Executive Director David Unmacht about how the League has responded during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shares advice he has for city leaders (be human!), what he has learned, what has surprised him, and what gives him hope during these rapidly changing times. Get more information and resources regarding COVID-19 from the League at www.lmc.org/covid19.

Joys and Challenges of Our First Year in Office

How did your first year go as an elected city official, what did you learn, and what advice would you give others? We check in with two elected officials as they wrap up their first year in office. Warren Mayor Mara Hanel and Oak Park Heights Councilmember Carly Johnson share what they found rewarding, challenging, and surprising this past year, and offer advice to the newbies out there as they start on their new adventure in public service.

Go Big So Minnesotans Can Go Home

Housing is a critical infrastructure issue in cities across Minnesota, and it intersects with many other basic needs and services. One of the partners working to solve this complex problem is Minnesota Housing Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Community Development Ryan Baumtrog. His agency’s goal is for everyone in Minnesota to have a safe, affordable home in the community of their choice, and he discusses the programs and tools his agency offers to cities to help achieve that goal. (Read about Minnesota Housing 2019 Funding Selections.) Also joining the conversation is League of Minnesota Cities Intergovernmental Relations Representative Daniel Lightfoot. He shares what the League will be advocating for during the 2020 legislative session regarding housing needs for cities. (Check out this League-compiled list of 25 City Tools for Housing Affordability and Developer Assistance.)

The Ballet of the Snow Plows

We live in a winter wonderland in Minnesota, which is great until you need to drive in it. In this episode, we talk about a crucial city service — snow plowing and clearance — and the policies that cities enact to keep us safe on the roads. Hear from two cities that are taking a leading approach to snow maintenance: Shoreview’s Public Works Director Mark Maloney; and Duluth’s Chief Administrative Officer Noah Schuchman, and Director of Public Works and Utilities Jim Benning. They share how environmental impact, budgets, and resident feedback are important considerations for snow removal policies. They also discuss how they are using technology to make their processes smarter and safer.

2020 Census: Why a Complete Count Matters

Is your city ready for the 2020 census? Minnesota State Demographer Susan Brower explains why the census is so important and how it’s used at the local level (including the distribution of billions of dollars in funding). Brower also discusses ways your city can promote the census, especially to those who may feel uneasy about participating. More information, tools, and resources about the 2020 census are available at www.mn.gov/2020census.

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