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Durham Commissioners Convene in Washington, D.C., to Promote County Issues

Post Date:03/13/2019 4:00 PM

Durham, NC Durham County’s Vice Chair James Hill and Commissioner Brenda Howerton joined more than 180 county officials from North Carolina and representatives from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) to attend the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., March 2-6, 2019.


While attending the conference and promoting Durham County’s Legislative Agenda, Commissioner Howerton was able to further endorse North Carolina 2019 Policy Priorities for infants, toddlers, and families, developed by the Think Babies NC Leadership Team. “The objective of the statewide organization is to create pathways for our youngest children to enable access to opportunities to fulfill their potential, create the best outcomes in health, education, and economic well-being for everyone in North Carolina,” said Howerton, who serves on the team working to build capacity to support youth.


The Legislative Conference is held annually by NACo, a national advocacy and leadership organization representing the common interests of 3,069 county governments throughout the country. It provides a forum for NACo Steering Committees to meet and conduct business. County officials from across the nation also hear from experts on federal policy issues affecting counties and meet with their Congressional members to promote legislative priorities.


As part of the event, the NCACC hosted a reception for North Carolina county leaders. Robert Willkie, Secretary of Veteran Affairs, attended as the guest speaker and remarks were provided by Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis and Representative G.K. Butterfield. County representatives also met one-on-one with North Carolina’s Congressional leaders to update them on federal priorities for counties for 2019 and advocate for their top legislative goals, which include expanding high-speed broadband internet access and securing additional support for disaster recovery efforts.


On their visit Hill and Howerton were able to attend several congressional meetings hear from key members of Congress on current legislation and connect with North Carolina’s congressional delegation. Their time at the United Sates Capitol included lobbying for the Reinstatement of Volunteer Fire Departments in State/local Government Retirement Systems and Increasing Federal Disaster Funding to help repair infrastructure damage through natural disaster,


During North Carolina’s Caucus Meeting, Person County Commissioner Ray Jeffers discussed his campaign to run for NACo 2nd Vice President, which will culminate in an election this summer at NACo’s Annual Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Tracey Johnson, Chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners and Tare “T” Davis, Warren County Commissioner announced their intent to run for NCACC 2nd Vice President. Commissioner Johnson and Ray Jeffers, Person County Commissioner declared their candidacy to continue to serve as members of the NACo Board of Directors.


Conference attendees heard from Alexander Acosta, U.S. Secretary of Labor, Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Kellyanne Conway, Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor, and entrepreneur and author, Steve Case, Chairman and CEO of Revolution LLC and Co-Founder of America Online.


The conference offered a variety of educational workshops and panel discussions on issues impacting counties. Several speakers from North Carolina were featured including Randell Woodruff, County Manager, Pender County, who discussed new revenue and collections via online sales tax. Tim Trautman, Mecklenburg County, Flood Mitigation Program Manager presented a workshop entitled, Understanding FEMA’s New Policy Guidelines Before Disasters Hit, and Crystal Kelly, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Children’s Council of Watauga County discussed local early childhood outreach efforts. Stephen Kalland, Executive Director, Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C State University discussed renewable energy, and Sean Maxwell, Legislative Director, Office of Representative David Price, North Carolina discussed community, economic and workforce development federal policy and funding issues.


Hill and Howerton were able to attend Large Urban Caucus subcommittee where they about 29 counties and cities receiving a subaward and technical assistance for their prenatal-to-three work as part of a National Collaborative for Infants and Toddlers (NCIT) initiative. NCIT, funded through the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI), brings together national partners, early childhood leaders, philanthropy, policymakers and practitioners (inside and outside of state and local government) to create and strengthen promising policies and programs (and share what works) so that more communities can support the healthy development of our youngest children. 


Editors: Print quality photos may be downloaded for use at: Photos should be credited as follows: Photo courtesy Chris Baucom/NCACC.


The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo assists America’s 3,069 counties in pursuing excellence in public service to produce healthy, vibrant, safe and resilient counties. NACo promotes sound public policies, fosters county solutions and innovation, promotes intergovernmental and public-private collaboration and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. More information at:



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