CNCounty News

President Biden to address 2023 NACo Legislative Conference

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Key Takeaways

Fresh off his State of the Union address last week, President Joe Biden will head to NACo’s Legislative Conference Tuesday, Feb. 14 for a speech to county officials at the Washington Hilton in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 2,000 elected and appointed county officials from around the country are in Washington, D.C. this week focusing on federal policy issues at the conference, which kicked off Friday, Feb. 10 and continues through Tuesday, Feb. 14. Attendees are engaging in policy sessions, meeting members of the 118th Congress and interacting with federal agency officials.

County officials will meet with their counterparts and hear from the administration and others on issues important to their counties — from mental health and broadband to affordable housing and wildfire and resiliency.

Presidents have a long tradition of visiting NACo conferences — including Presidents Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In his State of the Union address Feb. 7, Biden talked about helping “people that have been forgotten.”

 “My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten,” he said. “Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible.”

During a time of cultural divide, the president preached bipartisanship during his address. “Fighting for the sake of fighting, power for the sake of power, conflict for the sake of conflicts, gets us nowhere,” he said. “And that’s always been my vision for the country: to restore the soul of the nation, to rebuild the backbone of America: the middle class, to unite the country.”

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Watch President Biden's remarks live 

Biden spoke at the 2022 Legislative Conference

Biden’s political career began as a county official in New Castle County, Del., where he served as a councilman for two years. In 1970, 27-year-old Biden was first elected to public office as the New Castle County, Del. Council Member for the 4th District.

He served on the council for two years before making a bid to run for the U.S. Senate where he was elected as the sixth-youngest U.S. Senator in the country’s history.

Current New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer recalled a story during the December 2020 NACo Board of Directors meeting that Biden had told him about his time as council member when a constituent insisted a dead animal immediately be removed from her street. Biden arrived in a pickup truck and removed the animal himself that night.

“We’re so fortunate to have a president-elect who understands what it is like to stand in our shoes as county officials,” Meyer said.

During the same meeting, Biden recalled his county experience and emphasized the difficult positions county officials are often put into and the public’s lack of understanding about the role of local governments.

“I’d knock on the door as a 26-year-old kid when I started and say ‘Hello, my name is Joe Biden, candidate for the county Council.’ They’d look at me and I know they were wondering — What the hell does a county Council do?” he said.

Biden said county officials are the “single most consequential government officials.”

“You’re also the basis upon which people have faith or don’t have faith in government,” he said. “It’s all local.”


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