Summits and Special Events at the Legislative Conference

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    Summits and Special Events at the Legislative Conference

    The National Association of Counties (NACo) will host several summits and special sessions at the 2016 NACo Legislative Conference, covering topics including technology, rural poverty, criminal justice, behavioral health and county export opportunities. Read below for a full listing of summits and special sessions. For the full conference schedule and to register, click here.


    A Special Governors' Roundtable: State and County Collaboration to Tackle Chronic Rural Poverty

    Monday, February 22 | 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

    Don’t miss this timely roundtable discussion, which will highlight how state and local governments collaborate to tackle chronic rural poverty. Led by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who served as Iowa’s Governor for two terms, the panel will feature innovative approaches to rural poverty intervention.

    Hon. Tom Vilsack

    Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture

    Secretary Tom Vilsack serves as the nation's 30th Secretary of Agriculture. As leader of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Vilsack is working to strengthen the American agricultural economy, build vibrant rural communities and create new markets for the tremendous innovation of rural America.

    In January, the White House announced that Vilsack will lead an unprecedented effort to address challenges facining rural America.

    Hon. Bill Haslam

    Governor, State of Tennessee

    Governor Bill Haslam was re-elected to his second term as Tennessee’s governor with the largest victory in modern Tennessee history. Under Governor Haslam’s results-driven, common sense leadership, Tennessee is a national leader in education, job creation and fiscal responsibility.

    Governor Haslam has focused on making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and Tennessee has been awarded “State of the Year” for economic development. Working with the General Assembly, he has balanced the budget every year, kept taxes low, ensured Tennessee has the lowest debt in the country, and nearly doubled the state’s savings account.

    Hon. Gary R. Herbert

    Governor, State of Utah

    Governor Gary Richard Herbert has led Utah's recovery from the Great Recession to a position of national economic prominence. The Governor is focused on four cornerstones to strengthen Utah's economy: education, jobs, energy, and self-determination. As a result, Utah has become a premier destination for business, jobs, and an unsurpassed quality of life.

    The Governor currently serves as Chair of the National Governors Association, where his chair’s initiative focuses on highlighting state-based solutions while enhancing a collaborative state-federal partnership. As Utah's 17th Governor, he took the Oath of Office on August 11, 2009.

    Hon. Terry McAuliffe

    Governor, Commonwealth of Virginia

    Governor Terry McAuliffe is the 72nd Governor of Virginia. Since being sworn-into office, Governor McAuliffe has aggressively focused on building a new Virginia economy. Whether traveling to Bedford or Beijing, Governor McAuliffe has made it clear that his number one priority is economic development and he is working hard to create and maintain jobs throughout the Commonwealth.

    Governor McAuliffe understands that in order to compete for the jobs of tomorrow, it is essential that we make key investments today. The Governor signed legislation increasing the amount of Virginia qualified research and development expenses that can now be claimed as a tax credit. This legislation is important because it encourages private companies to invest in the jobs of the future.

    Hon. Tom Wolf

    Governor, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

    While finishing his PhD, Governor Tom Wolf worked as a forklift operator and warehouse worker in the family business, the Wolf Organization, a distributor of lumber and other building products based in York, Pennsylvania. Over the course of 25 years, Governor Wolf and his cousins grew the Wolf Organization — eventually more than quintupling the business in size — before selling the company in 2006.

    2007, Governor Wolf took the job of secretary of revenue in Governor Ed Rendell’s cabinet, where he instituted reforms that grew and strengthened the state lottery and laid the foundation for millions of dollars in additional benefits for Pennsylvania’s seniors.

    On January 20, 2015, he was sworn in as Pennsylvania’s 47th governor. Governor Wolf is focused on three simple goals: jobs that pay, schools that teach, and government that works.


    Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) Business Meeting: A Conversation with U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro

    Monday, February 22 | 10:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

    Join NACo’s LUCC leaders for a conversation with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs Secretary Julián Castro on innovation and partnerships to build affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods to ultimately expand opportunity for all in America's metropolitan counties.

    Hon. Julián Castro

    Secretary, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

    Julián Castro was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014. In this role, Castro oversees 8,000 employees and a budget of $46 billion, using a performance-driven approach to achieve the Department's mission of expanding opportunity for all Americans.

    As Secretary, Castro's focus is ensuring that HUD is a transparent, efficient and effective champion for the people it serves. Utilizing an evidence-based management style, he has charged the Department with one goal: giving every person, regardless of their station in life, new opportunities to thrive.

    FRIDAY, FEB. 19

    Chief Information Officer Forum

    8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    The CIO Forum enables county CIOs and elected officials to engage in an information exchange regarding the technological challenges facing our counties. 

    • Stu Davis, State CIO, State of Ohio & Immediate Past President of NASCIO
    • Robin Harlow, Innovation and Research Manager, Iowa State Association of Counties
    • Mike Nichols, Director, Cyber Joint Program Management Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • Doug Robinson, Executive Director, National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO)
    • Dr. Alan Shark, Executive Director/CEO, Public Technology Institute & Associate Professor of Practice, Rutgers University School of Public Affairs & Administration


    Technology Innovation Summit

    8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

    Technology and Innovation have enabled counties to focus on strengthening counties’ capacities in three areas: 1) protecting public safety; 2) preserving public health and well-being; and 3) promoting local economies. The Technology Innovation Summit will feature expert panelists and keynote speakers on a range of topics to help understand how innovation is used to help meet county challenges and to identify where county innovation is taking place. The sponsors for this event are Aetna, AT&T, Cisco Systems, Esri, IBM and FireEye.

    • Chris Burrows, Chief Information Security Officer, Oakland County, Michigan
    • Chris Essid, Deputy Director, Office of Emergency Communications, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • Terry Hall, Director of Emergency Communications, York, Poquoson, Williamsburg Emergency Communications, Yorktown, Virginia
    • Hon. Len Humphries, NACo Board Member & Sheriff, Fremont County, Idaho
    • Steve Hurst, Director, Security Services and Technology, AT&T
    • Hon. Pat Irwin, NACo Board Member, Vice Chair, NACo Telecommunications and Technology Steering Committee & Commissioner, Pershing County, Nevada
    • Peter Romness, Cybersecurity Programs Lead, Cisco Systems
    • David Thompson, President and Managing Director, NACo Financial Services Center

    A Conversation on the County Role in Behavioral Health: Building Systems and Diverting Individuals from Jails

    9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

    This special session is open to all conference attendees and is jointly convened by the Justice and Public Safety Policy Steering Committee, the Health Policy Steering Committee and the Healthy Counties Advisory Board

    As safety net providers of behavioral health and substance abuse services and the entry point of the criminal justice system, counties are uniquely positioned to create coordinated and comprehensive systems of care to ensure that individuals receive needed treatment in the appropriate setting. Counties across the country are building innovative systems and developing unique partnerships with their local justice systems so that jails are not de facto behavioral health treatment centers. NACo’s Stepping Up initiative is helping counties advance these efforts. At this session, you will hear from county peers on local programs that aim to improve the well-being of individuals with mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders, and from Congressional staffers on how federal programs can support these efforts.   

    Foreign Investment and U.S. Exports – A Networking Opportunity for County Elected Officials

    3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

    This special session is open to all conference attendees and is convened by the NACo International Economic Development Task Force.

    In an increasingly globalized world, foreign direct investment and exports are a major part of the U.S. economy.  Counties play an essential role in creating a business-friendly environment for these activities.  In this meeting, representatives of five industry groups from three different countries – Brazil, Germany and India – will talk with county officials about the investment interests of foreign businesses in the United States, what export opportunities exist and what counties can do to foster the international side of county economies. The meeting is structured in 15 minute sessions that allow county officials to network directly and in small groups with the industry representatives, foster connections and learn how to encourage economic growth through international investment.

    • Minister-Counselor Ricardo Daskal Hirschbruch, Trade and Investment Minister, Brazilian Embassy
    • Antonio Josino Meirelles, Executive Director, Brazil Industries Coalition (BIC)
    • Dr. Christoph Schemionek, Director of Regional Economic Policy, Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT)
    • Martin Wiekert, Director, Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI)
    • Sumani Dash, Director and Country Head, USA and Canada, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)
    • Dr. Ajay Kumar, Counsellor, Commerce Department, Indian Embassy


    Breakfast Roundtable: The Economic Impact of Aging on Counties, Sponsored by AETNA   

    8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                               

    This special session is open to all conference attendees and is jointly convened by the Healthy Counties Advisory Board, the Health Policy Steering Committee and the Human Services and Education Policy Steering Committee

    Baby Boomers are retiring, and medical advances continue to increase life expectancy for all. As a result, the portion of the U.S. population aged 65 or older – currently about 14 percent – is expected to double by 2050. Given the role that counties play in creating safe and livable communities for all residents, this “aging boom” will have a profound impact on counties, including those that operate long-term care facilities. At this session, experts and NACo members will discuss the economic impacts of aging on counties – both challenges and benefits – and what counties can do to provide livable and financially sustainable communities for their aging residents.

    • Sandy Markwood, Executive Director, National Association for Area Agencies on Aging (n4a)
    • Dr. Peter Arno, Senior Fellow and Director of Health Policy Research, University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute
    • Dr. Joseph Agostini, National Medical Director for Aetna Medicare


    A Conversation with Counties on the Federal Refugee Admissions and Resettlement Process

    10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

    This special session is open to all conference attendees and is convened by the NACo Immigration Reform Task Force

    As numerous international disasters have unfolded throughout modern history, the United States has admitted and resettled millions of individuals fleeing from war-torn or oppressive nations. Congress enacted the first refugee legislation after World War II, in 1948, and later passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which created a standardized resettlement process and established the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Today, the United States continues to admit and resettle individuals from around the world who are fleeing war or persecution, and various federal agencies, including ORR, play a role in carrying out this process. In this session, we will be joined by representatives from these agencies, who will discuss the federal government’s refugee admission and resettlement process and engage with NACo members on the role of counties in this process.

    • Director Leon Rodriguez, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Department of Homeland Security
    • Director Bob Carey, Office of Refugee Resettlement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Discussion moderated by Theresa Cardinal Brown, Director of Immigration Policy, Bipartisan Policy Center


    Capitol Hill Briefing
    Criminal Justice Reform Starts Locally: the Critical Role of Counties in Lowering Incarceration Rates and Boosting Successful Reentry

    1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

    Russell Senate Office Building, Kennedy Caucus Room (SR 325)

    As criminal justice reform efforts gather momentum in Congress, NACo will host a briefing on Capitol Hill to highlight the instrumental role of counties in America’s criminal justice system. Counties across the country are building innovative systems and developing unique partnerships to lower rates of incarceration and recidivism in local communities, and to reduce the number of individuals with mental health disorders in jails.

    Hon. John Cornyn

    U.S. Senator

    Sen. John Cornyn was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002, and is currently serving his third term after being reelected in 2008 and 2014. In addition to serving on the Senate Finance and Judiciary Committees, Sen. Cornyn serves as the Majority Whip, the second-highest ranking position in the Senate Republican Conference.

    Hon. Al Franken

    U.S. Senator

    First elected to the Senate in 2008, and re-elected in 2014, Sen. Al Franken currently sits on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee; the Judiciary Committee; the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and the Committee on Indian Affairs.

    Rural Poverty Summit
    Opportunity for All:  Building a Brighter Future for Rural Families

    12:45 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

    This session will highlight the current state of poverty in America and examine the numerous factors contributing to chronic poverty including early childhood development, drug and substance abuse, access to healthcare and workforce training. Additionally, this session will provide a look at innovative and successful initiatives designed to combat rural poverty through multi-generational service delivery models.

    • Hon. Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture
    • Mr. David Wilkensen, White House Domestic Policy Council
    • Dr. Michael Lu, Associate Administrator, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    • Ms. Anne Mosle, Vice President and Executive Director, Aspen-Ascend
    • Ms. Sharon McGroder, Program Director for Human Services, National Governors Association
    • Dr. Beth Mattingly, Director of Research on Vulnerable Families, University of New Hampshire
    • Ms. Amy New, Assistant Commissioner for Rural Economic Development, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
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    NACo will host several summits and special sessions at the 2016 NACo Legislative Conference, covering of topics including technology and innovation, rural poverty, criminal justice and behavioral health and county export opportunities.

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