Yesterday mayors from across the State of Missouri participated in a Digital Inclusion Summit at the Kansas City Public Library. The summit focused on the importance of digital inclusion and why it’s necessary for citizens to be digitally connected in the 21st century. Mayors were welcomed by the summit’s host, Mayor Sly James, and were provided insight from expert panelists from across the country specializing in digital inclusion.
“Digital connectivity is the infrastructure of the 21st century for a simple reason: it’s essential to a community’s strength, growth, and success,” said Mayor James. “So if we, as cities, want our economies to provide opportunity for every family, and we want our children to have the best education possible, or residents want services that are truly smarter and more efficient – - we have to be connected to that underlying digital infrastructure. As mayors it’s our duty to move our cities forward and to connect more residents to the opportunities presented by the internet.”
Mayors heard from in three different panels on subjects ranging from relevancy of digital access, state and national advocacy strategies, and the process of creating a digital inclusion coalition and strategic plan.
“The City of Kansas City, Missouri is a Digital Inclusion Trailblazer and now they are extending that innovation to the State of Missouri,” said Angela Siefer, Director of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance. “The Missouri Mayors Digital Inclusion Summit is the first time in the country a statewide association of mayors has convened to specifically discuss equitable technology access and use. The convening is a model for other state associations.”
Participating mayors included:
Mayor Debra Hickey – City of Battlefield, MO
Mayor Karen Best – City of Branson, MO
Mayor Thomas Schneider – City of Florissant, MO
Mayor LeRoy Benton – City of Fulton, MO
Mayor Matthew Robinson – City of Hazelwood, MO
Mayor Robert Koerber – City of Hermann, MO
Mayor Donald Tottingham – City of Houston, MO
Mayor Pamela Freese – City of Houston Lake, MO
Mayor Eileen Weir – City of Independence, MO
Mayor Sly James – City of Kansas City, MO
Mayor Randy Rhoads – City of Lee’s Summit, MO
Mayor Bruce Anderson – City of Loma Linda, MO
Mayor Nan Johnston – City of Parkville, MO
Mayor John Smedley – City of Platte Woods, MO
Mayor David Slater – City of Pleasant Valley, MO
Mayor Kathy Rose – City of Riverside, MO
Mayor Cliff Harvey – City of Weston, MO
Mayor James first convened this group of mayors in October 2016 to hear from candidates running for statewide office. Since that time, this group has held ongoing meetings across the state to discuss issues important to municipal governments including infrastructure, economic development and preemption.