Kicks off year-long ‘Serving the Underserved’ initiative
Columbus, Ohio — Tarrant County, Texas Commissioner Roy Charles Brooks became president of the National Association of Counties (NACo) at the conclusion of NACo’s 82nd Annual Conference in Franklin County, Ohio.
“It is a privilege to lead NACo,” said Brooks, “I look forward to advancing NACo’s mission, uniting America’s 3,069 counties, parishes and boroughs to achieve healthy, vibrant, safe communities across America.”
To that end, Brooks also announced his presidential initiative, Serving the Underserved, which will seek to give counties more tools to combat child and intergenerational poverty.
“Poverty is not a partisan problem, and neither are its solutions,” said Brooks. “Counties put people first, but poverty can push them to the end of the line.”
Brooks continued, “From early childhood development to workforce development, from homelessness to health, counties are investing in services that break cycles of poverty and help people thrive. We are partnering with the public, private and non-profit sectors at the federal, state and local levels to remove barriers, build opportunities and address the many faces of poverty in America.”
Over the next year, the initiative will include three main components:
- Raising awareness of the critical county role in breaking the cycle of poverty
- Advocating for federal policies that support county efforts to expand opportunity for all
- And providing tools to increase counties’ capacity to combat poverty.
The initiative will spotlight age zero to three early childhood development, “with the concept of either we pay now or we pay later,” Brooks said.
Brooks was elected first vice president of NACo on July 26, 2016 at the NACo Annual Conference in Los Angeles County, Calif. In addition to being a NACo officer, Brooks has served on NACo’s Board of Directors, chaired NACo’s Health Steering Committee Subcommittee on Health Reform and chaired NACo’s Healthy Counties Initiative Advisory Board. He is also the chairman of the National Organization of Black County Officials.
Brooks was elected to serve as a Tarrant County commissioner in 2004 and has dedicated himself to addressing human services issues since taking office. He has worked to provide constituents with opportunities to sign up for health care through the Affordable Care Act and has taken on issues such as homelessness, infant mortality, obesity, health disparities and AIDS education.
America’s 3,069 county governments invest $550 billion annually to provide services to over 310 million people, providing front line support for the health, safety and prosperity of our local communities — and our nation. Whether by providing water and sewage services, building roads and bridges, fostering conditions for economic growth, administering elections or supporting libraries and arts programs, counties play an essential role in the everyday lives of residents and workers across the country.