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Past President's Project

One of the greatest honors in my life was when I was elected as President of the National League of Cities in 2005.  As the oldest and largest organization representing municipal governents, the National League of Cities stands for what is great in America.  When I attended my first NLC conference in 1986, I was impressed with the diversity and freedom of thought throughout the organization.  Both Democrat and Republican, municipal leaders from every part of America came together to advocate for municipal government.  I learned so much from the leaders of this organization and I would not be the person I am if it were not for the thoughtful guidance of many of the Past Presidents of this great organization.  I can still remember walking up to Wichita Mayor Bob Knight at a meeting in Frisco, Texas and asking him if he thought I could be successful in running for Second Vice-President of the National League of Cities.  I can also remember Columbus, Ohio Mayor Greg Lashutka welcoming me to an NLC meeting at the beginning of my career.  Greg was a former lineman for Ohio State and stood like a mountain at 6'5".


If you travel to Atlanta by air you will arrive at the Hartsfield-Jackson named for Past NLC President William B. Hartfield.  


In Los Angeles, you may take off from LAX from the Tom Bradley International Terminal. 


At the DFW Airport you will see a statue to Bob Bolen, Former NLC President and Past Mayor of Fort Worth 

Eighty two men have served as NLC President


Twelve Women have served as NLC President


Twelve African-Americans have served as NLC President


Three Hispanics have served as NLC President

Sixty two NLC Presidents have been Mayors 


Thirteen NLC Presidents have been Councilmembers


One NLC President was a Selectman


One NLC President was a Commissioner


Fifteen NLC Presidents were League Directors


Two NLC Presidents were City Managers

List of National League of Cities Presidents from 1924-2014

Click on each name for some biographical information

(Information was obtained online and is not guaranteed accurate)

2020   Councilmember Joe Buscaino Los Angeles, California

2019   Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson Gary, Indiana

2018   Mayor Mark Stodola Little Rock, Arkansas 

2017   Councilmember Matt Zone Cleveland, Ohio

2016   Councilmember Melodee Colbert-Kean Joplin, MO

2015   Mayor Ralph Becker Salt Lake City, Utah

2014    Mayor Chris Coleman   St. Paul, Minnesota

2013    Mayor Marie Lopez-Rogers   Avondale, Arizona

2012    Mayor Ted Ellis   Bluffton, Indiana

2011    Councilmember James E. Mitchell, Jr.   Charlotte,NC

2010    Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge   Riverside, California

2009    Mayor Kathleen M. Novak   Northglenn, Colorado

2008    Councilmember Cynthia McCollum   Madison, AL

2007    Mayor Bart Peterson   Indianapolis, Indiana

2006    Councilmember James C. Hunt   Clarksburg, WV

2005    Mayor Anthony A. Williams   Washington, D.C.

2004    Selectman Charles Lyons   Arlington, Massachusetts

2003    Mayor John DeStefano, Jr.   New Haven, Connecticut

2002    Mayor Karen J. Anderson   Minnetonka, Minnesota

2001    Mayor Dennis W. Archer   Detroit, Michigan

2000    Mayor Bob Knight   Wichita, Kansas

1999    Mayor Clarence E. Anthony   South Bay, Florida

1998    Councilmember Brian J. O’Neill   Philadelphia, PA

1997    Councilmember Mark Schwartz   Oklahoma City, OK

1996    Mayor Gregory S. Lashutka   Columbus, Ohio

1995    Councilmember Carolyn Long-Banks   Atlanta, GA

1994    Mayor Sharpe James   Newark, New Jersey

1993    Mayor Donald M. Fraser   Minneapolis, Minnesota

1992    Commissioner Glenda E. Hood   Orlando, Florida

1991    Mayor Sidney Barthelemy   New Orleans, Louisiana

1990    Mayor Bob Bolen   Fort Worth, Texas

1989    Mayor Terry Goddard   Phoenix, Arizona

1988    Councilmember Pamela P. Plumb   Portland, Maine

1987    Councilmember Cathy Reynolds   Denver, Colorado

1986    Mayor Henry G. Cisneros   San Antonio, Texas

1985    Mayor George V. Voinovich   Cleveland, Ohio

1984    Mayor George Latimer   St. Paul, Minnesota

1982    Mayor Ferd Harrison   Scotland Neck, North Carolina

1981    Mayor William H. Hudnut, III   Indianapolis, Indiana

1980    Councilmember Jessie M. Ratley   Newport News, VA

1979    MayorJohn P. Rousakis   Savannah, Georgia

1978    Mayor Tom Moody   Columbus Ohio

1977    Councilmember Phyllis Lamphere   Seattle, WA

1976    Mayor Hans G. Tanzler   Jacksonville, Florida

1975    Mayor Carlos Romero Barcelo   San Juan, Puerto Rico

1975    Mayor Jake Garn   Salt Lake City, Utah

1974    Mayor Tom Bradley   Los Angeles, California

1973    Mayor Roman S. Gribbs   Detroit, Michigan

1972    Mayor Sam Massell   Atlanta, Georgia

1971    Mayor Richard G. Lugar   Indianapolis, Indiana

1970    Mayor Frank Curran   San Diego, California

1969    Mayor Beverly Briley   Nashville, Tennessee

1968    Mayor James H. J. Tate   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1967    Mayor Harold M. Tollefson   Tacoma Washington

1966    Mayor Jerome P. Cavanagh   Detroit, Michigan

1965    Mayor Henry W. Maier   Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1964    Mayor John F. Collins   Boston, Massachusetts

1963    Mayor Lewis Cutrer   Houston, Texas

1962    Mayor Gordon S. Clinton   Seattle, Washington

1962    Mayor Richardson Dilworth   Philadelphia, PA

1961    Mayor Don Hummel   Tucson, Arizona

1960    Mayor Raymond R. Tucker   St. Louis, Missouri

1959    Mayor Anthony J. Celebrezze   Cleveland, Ohio

1958    Mayor George Christopher   San Francisco California

1957    Mayor Ben West   Nashville, Tennessee

1956    Mayor Robert F. Wagner   New York, New York

1955    Mayor Allen C. Thompson   Jackson, Mississippi

1954    Mayor William E. Kemp   Kansas City, Missouri

1953    Mayor William B. Hartsfield   Atlanta, Georgia

1952    Mayor A.E. Cabo   Detroit, Michigan

1951    Mayor William F. Devin   Seattle, Washington

1950    Mayor Quigg Newton   Denver, Colorado

1949    Mayor DeLesseps S. Morrison   New Orleans, LA

1948    Mayor Fletcher Bowron   Los Angeles, California

1947    Mayor Woodall Rodgers   Dallas, Texas

1946    Mayor R.E. Riley   Portland, Oregon

1945    Mayor Wilson W. Wyatt   Louisville, Kentucky

1944    Director Herbert A. Olson   Michigan Municipal League, Michigan

1943    Mayor Charles E. Lee   Decatur, Illinois

1941-42 Director E.E. McAdams   League of Texas Municipalities, Texas

1940    Director Richard Graves   League of California Cities, California

1939    Director C.C. Ludwig   League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota

1938    Director Morton L. Wallerstein   League of Virginia Municipalities,  VA       

1937    City Manager Andrew Joyner, Jr.   Greensboro, North Carolina

1936    Director John G. Stutz   League of Kansas Municipalities, Kansas

1935    Director William P. Capes   New York State Conference of Mayors, NY

1934    Director Harold D. Smith   Michigan Municipal League, Michigan

1933    Director Frederick N. MacMillin   League of Wisconsin Municipalities, WI

1930-32 Director Sedley H. Phinney   N.J.State League of Municipalities, NJ

1930    Director Harvey W. Draper   League of Texas Municipalities, Texas

1929    Director Don C. Sowers   Colorado Municipal League, Colorado

1928    Director A.D. McLarty   Illinois Municipal League, Illinois

1927    Director Morton L. Wallerstein   League of Virginia Municipalities, VA

1924-26 Director Morris B. Lambrie   League of Minnesota Cities, Minnesota



  • John Stutz, founder of the National League of Cities provided two thirds of the funds to form the NLC from his own pocket.  He lived to the age of 102.

  • Three NLC Presidents went on to become United States Senators(Lugar, Voinovich, Garn)

  • Three NLC Presidents served as U.S. Congressmen(Hudnut, Fraser, Romero-Barcelo)

  • One NLC President served as HUD Secretary (Cisneros-HUD Secretary)

  • One NLC President was a NASA Astronaut(Garn)

  • Mayor Robert Wagner of New York City was Ambassador to Spain

  • One NLC President served as Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare (Celebrezze)

  • One Mayor, Jerome P. Cavanagh of Detroit, Michigan served as President of NLC and the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the same year, 1966.

  • NLC President Jim Hunt was named "Municipal Leader of the Year" by American City & County Magazine in 2006

  • Two NLC Presidents served as Governor (Voinovich & Romero-Barcelo)

  • Henry Cisneros served as an intern at the National League of Cities and became President of NLC in 1986

  • One NLC President, Mayor Clarence Anthony went on to become Executive Director of the National League of Cities


Thirty three states have had a NLC President and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico


California has had seven NLC Presidents

Michigan, Minnesota and Texas have each had six NLC Presidents


Indiana and Ohio have each had five NLC Presidents


Georgia, Washington and Colorado have each had four NLC Presidents


Arizona, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida and Virginia have each had three NLC Presidents


Massachutts, Kansas, New Jersey, Louisana, Wisconsin and Illinois have each had two NLC Presidents


Detroit has had four NLC Presidents


Los Angeles, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Seattle have each had three NLC Presidents


Columbus, St. Paul, New Orleans, Nashville and Denver have each had two NLC Presidents 

The following states have not had an NLC President: Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wyoming

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