When I made the decision to run for NACo 2nd vice president, it wasn’t a decision that I made on a whim.
I thought about this carefully for a long time, had countless conversations with other trusted colleagues and family members, and I mapped out overarching ideas and key objectives that I would use to help NACo and all counties become stronger and more efficient should I be honored to serve in this capacity.
It’s that focus and strategic planning that will serve at the heart of everything I do as your 2nd vice president — if elected. My desire to listen to other national leaders, state leaders and anyone at the local level complements that focus and planning. There may be no stronger component to a strategic plan than listening to other stakeholders.
Together, our experiences will help us grow and become a stronger, more unified NACo.
All organizations, NACo included, can benefit from clear direction and better planning. Our strategic plan, preferably a multi-year design that is led by the membership, will better communicate and direct NACo staff toward work that will elevate our organization to a higher status in Washington, D.C.
Under the current system, there are yearly presidential initiatives that are constantly pulling staff in a new direction every 12 months, and these initiatives do not apply to every county. It is priority No. 1 for me to streamline our services and initiatives with an all-encompassing strategic plan. This plan will be built in a way that we can build on our successes and witness continued yearly growth with momentum so strong and powerful, it will never stop progressing.
This growth will, in turn, propel NACo to a higher platform on a national stage, and the idea of being a part of that excites me greatly.
When our federal administration and Congress think of the Big Seven (The Council of State Governments, National Governors Association, National Conference of State Legislatures, National League of Cities, United States Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association) they should think of NACo first. I won’t be satisfied with anything less.
We are making great strides, but there is more work to do if we are going to achieve this goal. I would hope that our new multi-year strategic plan would help NACo achieve this status.
These goals, like most, are achieved through organization, listening, action and vision. I am eagerly looking forward to these challenges, and I will work diligently to help us get there.
NACo has amazing leadership in place, and the opportunity to serve with NACo’s incoming President Greg Cox from California, current Second Vice President Mary Ann Borgeson from Nebraska and soon-to-be past President Roy Charles Brooks from Texas is another way for me to listen and learn from high quality leaders. They will — no doubt — move NACo forward. As 2nd vice president, I will assist them and support their initiatives just as I hope my vice presidents will do in my term as president should I be so fortunate to serve.
While there are no two counties that are identical, we can learn from the accomplishments of others. It’s also vital to NACo, our states and our counties that we learn and grow from any missteps previously made along the way.
That’s a concept anyone, no matter how old or experienced you are, should embrace. It’s so important to grow from mistakes that it’s routinely taught in our schools today to right your wrongs. That’s why I will be diligent in always looking for a better way. I will not settle just because something is working well. What are the possibilities if something great can be even better? Exploring new opportunities is such a rewarding facet of growth.
I recognize that budgets and lack of funding are issues that will constantly impact NACo. I have learned from counties in other states about creative ways to fund projects.
Also, in the troubling and pressing world of opioid addiction, there are some very successful programs that other counties have implemented. We can’t rest, however, until the opioid epidemic is more adequately addressed through improved education, prevention, and treatment.
Fiscally, most counties are underfunded and, because of that, understaffed. It’s yet another example of why we must learn from each other and share ideas. Everyone is trying to cope with fiscal concerns. As we come together nationally to share, this example will surely trickle down to the state and county level, and I know one state, in particular, is excited to answer the call nationally.
I’ve been blessed to serve five terms as Boone County judge/executive in my home state of Kentucky and recently, I was elected to a sixth four-year term beginning in 2019.
While I am thrilled by the notion of becoming a stronger leader through NACo, I am grateful to have learned so much from other elected officials, especially through my previous involvement in NACo and through the Kentucky Association of Counties (KACo).
Currently, I’m the first vice president for KACo, and Kentucky has proven to be a state that wants to find ways to help its 120 counties knowing that, in turn, other states benefit from a stronger Kentucky.
My colleagues in the Bluegrass State are committed to helping me join the NACo leadership team. In fact, Kentucky, just became a 100 percent membership state because it sees the increased value that NACo is delivering. In addition, once we complete our strategic plan and begin to implement it, NACo will be more attractive to the staffs and elected officials in counties across our country.
In my opinion, membership is tied to momentum and value. Our fellow members must see the progress and equally find their membership to be something of substance. NACo is driven by elected county officials. We must continue to survey the needs of the membership and then respond to them accordingly.
I pledge to work tirelessly to engage non-member counties and to provide them with NACo benefits that can’t be ignored.
Additionally, I can relate to the economic and social diversity and the need for national support that NACo provides through my own experience with the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana (OKI) Council of Governments, Cincinnati’s Metro Planning Organization, which serves 2.2 million people in eight counties in those three states.
I was honored to serve as president of the greater Cincinnati council of regional government, and it was this experience that I gained the absolute respect for the creativity of the metro areas equaling the preservation of our agricultural and rural regions. Our NACo platform will be inclusive of all counties while considering their diversity of size, metro or rural, liberal or conservative, or the many other labels that often divide us.
It’s time for me to give back by helping my fellow elected county officials and working to build NACo into an even stronger organization than it already is.
I have been attending NACo events for about 19 years. I have attended annual conferences, legislative conferences, and many leadership training programs. I have also chaired two different policy steering committees: Transportation and Energy, Environment, and Land Use, and I co-chaired the NACo-National League of Cities Opioid Task Force. I have attended many workshops and leadership training sessions like the NACo Harvard Exchange Forum in Cambridge, Mass. The interaction and the training that I have received have been priceless, and I would not be the judge/executive that I am today without our National Association of Counties.
I am seeking the office of 2nd vice president of NACo because I care.
I truly care about county government, and I care about making a difference. My entire life and my work have been immersed in county government. I was blessed to practically grow up in a county courthouse as the son of a rural county sheriff, and those memories have never faded.
I have the resources within my home county and within my state that will allow me to be an asset for NACo. It would be a blessing and a privilege to serve as your NACo 2nd vice president.
I humbly ask for your vote.Hero 1