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2022 Candidate Platform: Phyllis J. Randall

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  • County News Article

    2022 Candidate Platform: Phyllis J. Randall

    Phyllis J. Randall

    Chair-at-Large

    Loudoun County, Virginia

    With the support of my State Association, the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), I offer my candidacy to be your Second Vice President of the National Association of Counties. 

    Counties are at the center of implementing sound, reasonable, effective public policies, and that’s how we must lead. Not from the top down, nor from the ground up, but from the center out. I believe NACo is the right organization to lead this national conversation and advocate for progress on the following issues: 

     

    The Second Pandemic

    Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the nation is experiencing, and will continue to experience, an epidemic of mental, behavioral health and substance abuse issues to include anxiety, depression and suicidology. Every year in America, we lose more people to mental health crises and substance abuse than we lost during the entire Vietnam war. 

    As a Mental Health/Substance Abuse Therapist, I have over twenty years of professional experience. I am highly qualified to address these issues. As the current Chair of NACo’s Healthy Counties committee, I’ve ensured our committee remains focused on mental health in a post-COVID environment. However, I now believe the entire NACo body should, among other things, do the following:

    1. Hire an expert or, if practical, appoint a current member from NACo staff to train elected officials and county staff who wish to be fluid in the language and solutions of Mental/Behavioral Health and Substance Dependence; 
    2. Provide educational materials for office holders and county staff; 
    3. Lead, encourage and welcome the conversation on Mental Health and Substance Abuse in all spaces with the goal of educating and destigmatizing these health conditions; 
    4. Appoint NACo ambassadors to liaise with congressional staff or Members of Congress on a regular basis.

     

    Support Our Farming and Agricultural Communities

    Throughout the COVID pandemic, the entire nation realized the importance of producing our own foods. In the United States we import more than half of our fresh fruit and almost a third of our fresh vegetables. Many of these goods come from countries not considered allies of America or good actors on the international stage. In 2017 alone, the US imported $4.6 billion worth of food from China. Although we all recognize that an international economy requires importing foods and other goods, we should be equally aware that, according to the United States Census of Agriculture, between 2012-2016 viable farmland in America shrank at a rate of 3.2%, which equates to 3.3 million acres. Our farming industry is a vital part of our rural economies. We must protect farmable land by: 

    1. Vowing not to build permanent structures on our prime agricultural soil;
    2. Encouraging landowners to put valuable farmland into conservation easement; 
    3. Adding protections through county zoning policies.

     

    Establishing a Goal of Upward Economic Mobility for Every County in America

    There has been and will likely always be great disparities in median incomes and wealth distribution among American Counties. However, counties with household median incomes of twenty-five thousand dollars or less often face not just serious economic issues but health and safety issues as well. Poor counties often have no hospitals, doctors or dentists. First responders in poor counties often don’t have the required equipment and training to perform their jobs effectively, and the school system performance in these counties are often well below the national average. This leaves students vulnerable and unprepared to compete in the world after graduation if they graduate at all. Vast economic disparities among our nation’s counties often mean a young person’s success is more dependent on their ZIP code than their hard work, intelligence and talent. As the nation’s leading county voice, should never accept this.

    In NACo, I am a founding and active member of the Economic Mobility Leadership Network. The goal of this small cohort is to identify opportunities for counties to export policy successes to help other counties become economically stable and mobile. 

    As a direct result of my work in the Economic Mobility Leadership Network, Loudoun County and a county in Mississippi have formed the first Sister County relationship. Not only have our two counties signed a formal Sister County agreement, we are in constant communication, sharing best practices and planning periodic exchange visits. As part of this new relationship, Loudoun recently provided our Mississippi Sister County with a fully outfitted fire truck. Similarly, our Mississippi Sister County is providing our agricultural sector with important information about growing in difficult soil.  

    I believe NACo member counties can and should:

    1. Complete surveys detailing and cross-referencing average incomes and education levels with notable health disparities, and the results of this NACO analysis should be widely disseminated and shared with Members of Congress;
    2. Form Sister County relationships where beneficial to both counties; 
    3. Share the lessons learned from these relationships regularly with the entire NACo body.

     

    Civility in Politics

    Not long ago, we had political opponents. Today, many have political enemies. We have forgotten the goal of communication is not to make the other person conform to your beliefs, but to hear and be heard. Compromise has become an unacceptable word, and name calling has become the norm. 

    During my first term as Chair-at-Large of my county, I led a board of six Republicans and three Democrats. This term the Board has six Democrats and three Republicans. During both terms, our Board members have treated one another with respect. We disagree without being disagreeable, disrespectful or disparaging. 

    Treating our political opponents and colleagues with respect does not mean we give up our own values or positions. And it certainly does not mean we allow any person to treat us disrespectfully. However, as county officials we collaborate closely with our colleagues who often share different political beliefs. As an organization and as county leaders, our members should model this professional behavior for state and federal bodies. 

    I appreciate you taking the time to read my platform, and I humbly ask for your vote to be NACO’s 2nd Vice President. 

    Loudoun County, Va. Chair at Large Phyllis J. Randall is running for NACo second vice president. Read her platform here
    2022-07-13
    County News Article
    2022-07-18

Phyllis J. Randall

Chair-at-Large

Loudoun County, Virginia

With the support of my State Association, the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo), I offer my candidacy to be your Second Vice President of the National Association of Counties. 

Counties are at the center of implementing sound, reasonable, effective public policies, and that’s how we must lead. Not from the top down, nor from the ground up, but from the center out. I believe NACo is the right organization to lead this national conversation and advocate for progress on the following issues: 

 

The Second Pandemic

Exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the nation is experiencing, and will continue to experience, an epidemic of mental, behavioral health and substance abuse issues to include anxiety, depression and suicidology. Every year in America, we lose more people to mental health crises and substance abuse than we lost during the entire Vietnam war. 

As a Mental Health/Substance Abuse Therapist, I have over twenty years of professional experience. I am highly qualified to address these issues. As the current Chair of NACo’s Healthy Counties committee, I’ve ensured our committee remains focused on mental health in a post-COVID environment. However, I now believe the entire NACo body should, among other things, do the following:

  1. Hire an expert or, if practical, appoint a current member from NACo staff to train elected officials and county staff who wish to be fluid in the language and solutions of Mental/Behavioral Health and Substance Dependence; 
  2. Provide educational materials for office holders and county staff; 
  3. Lead, encourage and welcome the conversation on Mental Health and Substance Abuse in all spaces with the goal of educating and destigmatizing these health conditions; 
  4. Appoint NACo ambassadors to liaise with congressional staff or Members of Congress on a regular basis.

 

Support Our Farming and Agricultural Communities

Throughout the COVID pandemic, the entire nation realized the importance of producing our own foods. In the United States we import more than half of our fresh fruit and almost a third of our fresh vegetables. Many of these goods come from countries not considered allies of America or good actors on the international stage. In 2017 alone, the US imported $4.6 billion worth of food from China. Although we all recognize that an international economy requires importing foods and other goods, we should be equally aware that, according to the United States Census of Agriculture, between 2012-2016 viable farmland in America shrank at a rate of 3.2%, which equates to 3.3 million acres. Our farming industry is a vital part of our rural economies. We must protect farmable land by: 

  1. Vowing not to build permanent structures on our prime agricultural soil;
  2. Encouraging landowners to put valuable farmland into conservation easement; 
  3. Adding protections through county zoning policies.

 

Establishing a Goal of Upward Economic Mobility for Every County in America

There has been and will likely always be great disparities in median incomes and wealth distribution among American Counties. However, counties with household median incomes of twenty-five thousand dollars or less often face not just serious economic issues but health and safety issues as well. Poor counties often have no hospitals, doctors or dentists. First responders in poor counties often don’t have the required equipment and training to perform their jobs effectively, and the school system performance in these counties are often well below the national average. This leaves students vulnerable and unprepared to compete in the world after graduation if they graduate at all. Vast economic disparities among our nation’s counties often mean a young person’s success is more dependent on their ZIP code than their hard work, intelligence and talent. As the nation’s leading county voice, should never accept this.

In NACo, I am a founding and active member of the Economic Mobility Leadership Network. The goal of this small cohort is to identify opportunities for counties to export policy successes to help other counties become economically stable and mobile. 

As a direct result of my work in the Economic Mobility Leadership Network, Loudoun County and a county in Mississippi have formed the first Sister County relationship. Not only have our two counties signed a formal Sister County agreement, we are in constant communication, sharing best practices and planning periodic exchange visits. As part of this new relationship, Loudoun recently provided our Mississippi Sister County with a fully outfitted fire truck. Similarly, our Mississippi Sister County is providing our agricultural sector with important information about growing in difficult soil.  

I believe NACo member counties can and should:

  1. Complete surveys detailing and cross-referencing average incomes and education levels with notable health disparities, and the results of this NACO analysis should be widely disseminated and shared with Members of Congress;
  2. Form Sister County relationships where beneficial to both counties; 
  3. Share the lessons learned from these relationships regularly with the entire NACo body.

 

Civility in Politics

Not long ago, we had political opponents. Today, many have political enemies. We have forgotten the goal of communication is not to make the other person conform to your beliefs, but to hear and be heard. Compromise has become an unacceptable word, and name calling has become the norm. 

During my first term as Chair-at-Large of my county, I led a board of six Republicans and three Democrats. This term the Board has six Democrats and three Republicans. During both terms, our Board members have treated one another with respect. We disagree without being disagreeable, disrespectful or disparaging. 

Treating our political opponents and colleagues with respect does not mean we give up our own values or positions. And it certainly does not mean we allow any person to treat us disrespectfully. However, as county officials we collaborate closely with our colleagues who often share different political beliefs. As an organization and as county leaders, our members should model this professional behavior for state and federal bodies. 

I appreciate you taking the time to read my platform, and I humbly ask for your vote to be NACO’s 2nd Vice President. 

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