The National Association of Counties (NACo) brought its annual conference to Los Angeles County last week giving California counties the opportunity to participate in policy discussions about a variety of important national issues. More than 150 California county officials and staff participated in the conference, which attracted nearly 3,000 of their counterparts from across the country.
“The NACo conference is one of the most effective ways to have our voices heard on the national issues that impact us here in the Golden State,” said Richard Forster, President of the California State Association of Counties and an Amador County Supervisor. “There is so much good policy discussion and expertise about water, transportation, public safety, health and mental health care, public lands and tribal issues just to name a few.”
The multi-day conference was the first in California in recent memory. The event provided county officials an important opportunity to weigh in on key policy issues, attend informative workshops and network with their colleagues from around the nation. Another highlight of the conference was the election of San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox as NACo 2nd Vice President, ensuring California has a strong voice within the association in and Washington, D.C. over the next four years.
“Sometimes we get lulled in to thinking our community is the only one experiencing an issue, but you come to a gathering like this with counties from across the country and you are reminded right away that you’re not alone” said Virginia Bass, 4th District Supervisor and Vice Chair of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors. “It’s really invaluable to be able to share information with officials from other counties, most of which are rural counties like us, and talk face-to-face about issues we have in common. This is a great opportunity for Humboldt County to build bridges with our county partners, and I’m excited to use the information we gained and relationships we created there to bring positive changes to our community.”
Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials from through the country together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government, and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.
“You can read briefing papers and follow issues online,” President Forster added. “But with many complex issues, there’s nothing like hearing from the experts in person, asking questions and being able to influence national county priorities. These issues directly affect the people we represent at home and knowing more about them makes you a more effective county leader.”