The past weeks have reminded me of something Helen Keller said: “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Collaboration was a key theme at recent meetings I attended on behalf of NACo. I visited San Diego County, Calif. to participate in a meeting with the National Congress of American Indians. The meeting brought together elected officials and key representatives of tribal, state and county governments to discuss issues of common concern. Relationship-building with local governments was a particular focus along with the role that cross-jurisdictional cooperation and coordination can play in creating safer, shared communities.
Counties support government-to-government relations that recognize the roles and unique interests of tribes and other governments to protect all members of our communities and to provide services beneficial to all. In order to do this, collaboration is essential.
This meeting was an excellent opportunity for me not only to share the county perspective but also to learn about some of the cooperative solutions being implemented in various communities to address priorities including law enforcement and public safety, child welfare, early childhood development and foster care, and emergency preparedness and response.
I was also honored to attend the National Council of County Association Executives (NCCAE) Annual Meeting in Baldwin County, Ala. State associations of counties understand the importance of intergovernmental collaboration, and they are a cornerstone of NACo’s work, especially for our member outreach, peer exchanges, legislative advocacy coordination and research.
Counties know that being involved in our state associations is an effective way to impact legislation and policies in state capitals. We also know that what happens in state capitals often originates in Washington, D.C. and eventually makes its way to the county level. That’s one of the reasons why we are working hard to advocate for counties at the federal level — to have a meaningful seat at the table to implement changes before and during rulemaking and legislative processes.
During the meeting, NCCAE members discussed confronting challenges facing counties and states, and we heard from experts on several topics from criminal justice reform to property taxes, from medical costs to schools.
We look forward to collaborating more strongly with state associations, especially with civic engagement and public awareness, advocacy, leadership development, innovation sharing, enterprise solutions and much more.
Congratulations to the 2015–2016 NCCAE officers: President Tim McGuire (Michigan), First Vice President Eric Johnson (Washington), Second Vice President Ross King (Georgia), Third Vice President Vivian Parsons (West Virginia) and Immediate Past President Roland Dartez (Louisiana).Hero 1