Ehemann participates in NACo’s Legislative Conference


Administration and congressional leaders highlight county role in serving residents

Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann talks with White House staff member Anne Hazlett, who is with the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.

Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann talks with White House staff member Anne Hazlett, who is with the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.


Courtesy photo

CCAO responds:

Dewine pledges funds to children’s services

COLUMBUS – In response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement he is proposing an additional $74 million to children’s services and the child protection system, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) applauds the governor for proposing to nearly double the funding to these vital county services that protect children in Ohio’s counties.

One of the most difficult tasks facing counties is the administration of programs and services for children who are abused or neglected. Recently, Ohio has seen an increase in opiate use that has reached epidemic proportions, spanning communities of every size and demographic. Ohio is projected to have nearly 19,000 children in foster care by 2020. Placement costs have increased by 34 percent in the last five years and are expected to increase $44 million by 2020.

“Every child protection system throughout the state is overwhelmed by children left in the wake of the opiate epidemic, which will have long-term ramifications. More foster families need to be recruited and additional support must be given to both foster and kinship families,” said CCAO President Julie Ehemann. “We appreciate that the governor recognizes the state needs to help its county partners fund this crucial system that supports children across the state in times of need.”

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann joined nearly 2,000 other county leaders in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Counties (NACo) annual Legislative Conference March 2-6. Participants met with members of the Trump administration and Congress on key issues like disaster recovery, the opioid and substance abuse epidemic, broadband accessibility and revitalizing American infrastructure.

“Counties work within the guidelines given to us by the State with no authority to create most of our own rules. As such it is imperative that we educate them to our needs and situations within our own communities,” said Ehemann.

“Decisions made by the White House, Congress and federal courts have major impacts on our ability to lead our communities and pursue a better future,” said NACo President Greg Cox. “This conference is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our federal partners as we help residents forge pathways to live well and thrive.”

In meetings with lawmakers and administration officials, county leaders outlined several key federal policy priorities including:

• Promoting county infrastructure priorities in a comprehensive infrastructure package

• Supporting the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs, which honor federal commitments to public lands and timber counties

• Promoting mental health, substance use disorders treatment and criminal justice reform, and

• Boosting broadband deployment and accessibility while preserving local zoning authority.

As part of its policy advocacy, NACo launched an updated “Counties Matter” campaign to illustrate counties’ vast role in advancing America’s policy priorities at the local level. NACo also launched a new and improved County Explorer. The tool, which allows users to map data at the county level, now works on mobile devices and is more user-friendly.

Conference participants heard from congressional and administration leaders, including U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, U.S. Senators Joni Ernst, Amy Klobuchar and Marco Rubio, Assistant to the President and Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway and Co-Founder of America Online Steve Case. As a member of the Rural Action Caucus, Ehemann also met with members of the White House staff including the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs, Anne Hazlett.

Counties officials were very active on Capitol Hill, meeting with senators and representatives. Ehemann met directly with U.S. Rep Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, 4th District, to discuss Water Quality, Infrastructure and local funding flexibility.

The conference featured three briefings on Capitol Hill: one on strengthening human services; one on fixing the FAST Act, focusing on transportation infrastructure; and another on how counties are reimaging health care in county jails. NACo also announced a joint task force with the National Sheriffs’ Association to examine the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion Policy, which strips federal health and veterans’ benefits from individuals upon admission to jail – not upon conviction – leading to increased recidivism.

Dozens of county officials also rallied at a press conference with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to underscore support for key public lands programs, Secure Rural Schools and Payments in Lieu of Taxes. Watch the press conference here.

There were more than two dozen policy workshops featuring county officials and other leaders in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. They focused on topics like the opioid crisis; early childhood investments; workforce and economic development; transportation and infrastructure; public health and safety; mental health and jails; and cybersecurity and technology. In addition to workshops, the NACo Board of Directors met and approved the appointment of Commissioner Ehemann to their Board.

“I have found that while circumstances may be different, Commissioners from throughout the country are concerned with the same issues. Affordable housing, workforce development, the opiates crisis and issues related to our rural farming communities were common themes in many of our discussions,” said Ehemann.

Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann talks with White House staff member Anne Hazlett, who is with the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2019/03/web1_NACo-2019-Anne-Hazlett.jpgShelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann talks with White House staff member Anne Hazlett, who is with the office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as Senior Adviser for Rural Affairs. Courtesy photo
Administration and congressional leaders highlight county role in serving residents

CCAO responds:

Dewine pledges funds to children’s services

COLUMBUS – In response to Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement he is proposing an additional $74 million to children’s services and the child protection system, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) applauds the governor for proposing to nearly double the funding to these vital county services that protect children in Ohio’s counties.

One of the most difficult tasks facing counties is the administration of programs and services for children who are abused or neglected. Recently, Ohio has seen an increase in opiate use that has reached epidemic proportions, spanning communities of every size and demographic. Ohio is projected to have nearly 19,000 children in foster care by 2020. Placement costs have increased by 34 percent in the last five years and are expected to increase $44 million by 2020.

“Every child protection system throughout the state is overwhelmed by children left in the wake of the opiate epidemic, which will have long-term ramifications. More foster families need to be recruited and additional support must be given to both foster and kinship families,” said CCAO President Julie Ehemann. “We appreciate that the governor recognizes the state needs to help its county partners fund this crucial system that supports children across the state in times of need.”

The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.