Sunday, November 5
Join this pre-symposium mobile tour where we will visit the nation's newest national park, the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve, and hear from National Park Service rangers about the area's rich history, as well as county representatives on the challenges and opportunities associated with having public lands within county boundaries.
Buses will begin to board at 8:00 AM from the main hotel entrance and depart at 8:30 AM. Weather permitting, the group will be outside for a portion of the tour when we will take a short walk to the overlook. Please wear appropriate clothes (layers recommended) and comfortable shoes. Snacks and water will be available on the bus.
Due to limited space, the tour is capped at 30 attendees and RSVP is required. To RSVP for the mobile tour, please click here.
Gather with fellow RAC members and our county partners to hear welcome remarks from our State of West Virginia partners and enjoy hors d'oeuvres and refreshments to kick off the fall symposium in the historic Cameo Ballroom, a name given to the space by Dorothy Draper because of its resemblance to the classic cameo pin.
The Greenbrier and the surrounding White Sulphur Springs area offers a variety of restaurant choices where you can dine on your own. Reservations are highly recommended for the hotel's restaurants.
Monday, November 6
Join the networking breakfast where attendees will hear from caucus leadership as well as learn more about the work of the NACo Housing Task Force, which recently issued recommendations for improving the local housing crisis.
Join the symposium's general session to hear featured remarks from RAC leadership, as well as senior elected and appointed officials and staff from the White House, U.S. Senate, Federal Communications Commission, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Brookings Institution and more.
America’s counties rely on the Farm Bill to provide critical funding for needs ranging from conservation to forestry to nutrition. Of particular importance to rural America is the bill’s Title VI, which funds rural development programs. Join this workshop to learn more about anticipated Rural Development title provisions and how rural counties can access these investments to improve local communities.
Cindy Axne, Senior Advisor for Rural Engagement, Delivery and Prosperity, U.S. Department of Agriculture; former Member of Congress (Iowa)
Mikayla Bodey, Senior Professional Staff, U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Majority
Tony Pipa, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution Center for Sustainable Development
Hon. Tammy Tincher, Vice Chair, NACo RAC; Commissioner, Greenbrier County, W. Va. (moderator)
All symposium attendees are welcome to join the lunch where we will hear from NACo partner Nationwide and enjoy chef-prepared, local poultry donated by Hardy County, W. Va.
While the nation grapples with workforce challenges, this issue is felt acutely in rural America where population bases are smaller and professional industries limited. Join this workshop to learn more from subject matter experts about how rural counties can improve the local labor market.
- Lenita Jacobs-Simmons, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor
- Jessica Breaux, Regional Leader and Senior Economic Development Manager, Amazon
- Barbara Dawes, Executive Director, Region 1 Workforce Development Board, West Virginia
- Tammy Jordan, President, Fruits of Our Labor, Inc.
- Ryan Thorn, State Director, West Virginia, Office of Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture
- Shawn Milne, Director of Economic Development, Quality Growth & Intergovernmental Affairs, Bear River Association of Governments
As natural disasters continue to increase, local officials must plan, prepare and respond to storms in innovative ways that best leverage constrained capital with other solutions, including community involvement.
In 2016, White Sulphur Springs was hit with catastrophic flooding where over 20 lives were lost. This mobile tour will visit sites impacted by the “1,000-year flood” in Greenbrier County, as well as economic development projects that have helped revitalize the area, and feature local and federal officials discussing disaster resilience and recovery. Speakers include:
Hon. Tammy Tincher, Vice Chair, NACo RAC; Commissioner, Greenbrier County, W. Va.
James Young, Disaster Field Coordinator, Region 3, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Eryn Hurley, Director of Government Affairs, NACo
Buses will begin to board at 1:45 p.m. immediately following the all-attendee photo from the main hotel entrance and depart at 2:15 p.m. Weather permitting, the group will be outside for a portion of the tour. Please wear appropriate clothes (layers recommended) and comfortable shoes. Buses will return to the hotel’s main entrance at 4:40 p.m. Due to limited space, the tour is capped at 40 attendees and RSVP is required. To RSVP for the mobile tour, please click here.
Join the symposium's closing dinner to fellowship with symposium attendees and enjoy delicious cuisine crafted by the hotel's renowned chefs. To kick us off, attendees will enjoy a fireside chat with Brad D. Smith, distinguished president of Marshall University, where we will learn more about his inspirational journey that begins and culminates in rural Appalachia. RAC Vice Chair Greg Puckett will moderate. Learn more about our special guest here.
- Brad D. Smith, President, Marshall University
Hon. Greg Puckett, Vice Chair, NACo RAC; Commissioner, Mercer County, W. Va.
Tuesday, November 7
Join the final networking breakfast in the Crystal Ballroom, a space once used for entertaining patients in the former Ashford General Hospital, a military institution that occupied the hotel from 1942 through 1946.
Join this mini version of the NACo Legislative Conference federal agency expo to speak directly with senior agency staff about your local needs and concerns. Utilize this opportunity for one-on-one technical assistance with subject matter experts from agencies across the federal government who have significant stakes in rural America. Attendees tentatively include:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
Office of Rural Development
U.S. Department of Commerce
Economic Development Administration
National Telecommunications & Information Administration
U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of Intergovernmental Affairs
Office of Rural Opportunities to Utilize Transportation for Economic Success (ROUTES)
U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Recovery Programs
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations
Office of Water
Appalachian Regional Commission
Federal Communications Commission
Transformative projects are underway across West Virginia’s coal-impacted counties. Join to learn strategies behind place-based projects to support local businesses, expand recreation economies and grow a sustainable energy sector. This workshop will showcase Southern West Virginia’s ACT Now Build Back Better Project and NACo’s BRECC program. The Rocky Mountain Institute will share technical assistance resources to help counties access federal financing programs.
- Jeremy Richardson, Manager for Carbon-Free Electricity, Rocky Mountain Institute
Amanda Workman-Scott, Director of Community Engagement, West Virginia Community Development Hub
As the national substance use crisis continues to evolve, local officials are on the frontlines of community prevention, treatment and recovery efforts. In combatting the crisis, rural counties contend with a range of unique challenges ranging from the substance use environment to treatment availability. To address the unique challenges that the substance use crisis has created in rural counties, we need unique solutions. Learn more from county partners and practitioners about promising public health strategies in rural areas.
Hamilton Baiden, Chief Executive Officer, Heritage Health Solutions
Lisa Macon Harrison, MPH, Local Health Director, North Carolina Granville Vance Public Health District
Arlene Hudson, Behavioral Health Clinical Liaison, Aetna
Jason Sundby, Chief Executive Officer, Deterra
Hon. Greg Puckett, Vice Chair, NACo RAC; Commissioner, Mercer County, W. Va. (moderator)
Health begins where people live, work and play, and rural communities have a unique set of strengths and challenges that impact health and disease outcomes. Rural counties are exploring innovative ways to protect everyone’s health by enacting policies that prevent disease before it happens. Join this session to learn more about what rural counties are doing to address the social determinants of health and promote strategies for upstream prevention in communities.
Hon. Greg Puckett, Commissioner, Mercer County, W.Va
Hon. Tammy Tincher, Commission President, Greenbrier County, W. Va
Carolyn Bridgett Morrison, Medical Director, Greenbrier County Health Department, W. Va.
Maddie Kapur, Program Officer, de Beaumont Foundation (moderator)