Amarillo Mayor Ginger Nelson recently joined 89 other women leading cities across the nation, during the Women Mayors of America Conference on Sept. 20 at the White House.

The event focused on improving federal-local relationships, workforce and economic development, housing, improving infrastructure, the opioid epidemic and tax reform, the White House noted in a statement. The session included a White House tour and a series of afternoon sessions with speakers.

“The most interesting thing was a three-hour conference in a room with 90 mayors,” said Nelson, who added she paid for the trip with personal funds. “The first person we heard from was Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and it was so encouraging to hear the points she was making about what communities need to be doing and where they need to be moving in education. We are there and getting that done already. I thought she had great things to say.”

Small Business Administration Administrator Linda McMahon and personnel discussing workforce development initiatives also made favorable impressions, Nelson said.

“There are a lot of things I think we’re not tapping into as far as resources in our community,” she said with regard to the SBA. “I’ll be investigating some of the seminars and things they can come to Amarillo and put on for us. It was great to hear them talking about how to develop the workforce and obviously we are doing that in our community. I feel like there was good information and some connecting points from workforce development.”

Nelson said Vice President Mike Pence introduced second lady Karen Pence, who spoke about supporting military spouses.

“Most importantly, I saw how powerful a room full of committed leaders could be when someone in leadership invites them to be together and share information,” Nelson said. “It motivated me to come back to Amarillo and create more opportunities for us to connect with citizens who have ideas. It was productive to be there and time very well spent.”