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If There Were a ‘State of the City’ Address Contest, This Texas Mayor Would Win

The mayor of McAllen, Texas makes his entrance for his State of the City address on Monday

The mayor of McAllen, Texas makes his entrance for his State of the City address on Monday City of McAllen / Facebook


Connecting state and local government leaders

These annual municipal events can often be boring. This one was not.

This is the time of year when many U.S. mayors deliver their annual State of the City addresses. They’re the municipal equivalent of the president’s State of the Union address or a governor’s State of the State, often with their own local flavors of pomp and circumstance.

For mayors, a State of the City address is an opportunity to outline accomplishments, discuss challenges, honor members of the community and offer a vision for the future.

Despite the city hall substance, some of these annual municipal addresses can be, well, a bit boring. And although there’s no prize for the best State of the City address, the mayor of McAllen, Texas would have easily won this year.

At the McAllen Convention Center on Monday, Mayor Jim Darling’s address was introduced by a special city-produced video showing him training with local police officers and firefighters. That included the mayor wearing a 50-pound firefighter uniform and rappelling from a training tower, according to the Valley Town Crier. It was all part of Darling’s theme that McAllen is a safe community to live and work in.

But the action continued after the video concluded with the mayor’s arrival on stage. Darling didn’t simply walk out on stage. Instead, the mayor rappelled down through an opening in the convention center’s ceiling before starting his remarks.

Other mayors should take note so they can improve their State of the City game next year.

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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