The outgoing USCM president is Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter.
Nutter appointed Smith as head of the nonpartisan organization during its 81st annual meeting Monday in Las Vegas.
"We have a voice that should be heard, that must be heard" Smith said Thursday.
More than 200 mayors met to discuss a broad range of policy issues impacting the nation's cities including the economic health, immigration, school safety, energy efficiency, housing and help for returning military veterans.
"These issues are so important for the majority of U.S. residents who live in urban area," Smith said. "We must take seriously our responsibility to advocate not on our behalf, but on theirs."
As conference president, Smith will set the organization's agenda, appoint committee and task force chairs and serve as the national spokesperson for the term that runs through next June.
Smith was the organization's vice president over the past year.
Smith was first elected mayor of Mesa, the third largest city in Arizona and 38th largest in America, in 2008. He was re-elected to a second term unopposed in 2012.
Opening press conference (Friday, June21)