WASHINGTON, D.C. – Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann joined nearly 2,000 county leaders in Washington, D.C. for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference Feb. 29-March 4.
President Donald J. Trump addressed county leaders and pledged his administration will continue to be a “friend, partner, ally and resource” to America’s county governments.
Participants also met with members of the Trump administration and bipartisan members of Congress on several key federal policy priorities like pre-trial detainee health care and recidivism, election security, the opioid and substance abuse epidemic, broadband accessibility and revitalizing American infrastructure.
“I have found that the NACo conference is an ideal time for me to be able to share ideas with other Commissioners from throughout the Country, and to get updates on legislation that can impact Shelby County,” said Ehemann.
“Federal decisions have direct and long-lasting impacts on county government,” said NACo President Mary Ann Borgeson. “This conference is an opportunity to strengthen our relationship with our federal partners as we share our own best practices with one another.”
In addition to President Trump, conference participants heard from:
• U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
• U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt
• U.S. Senator Chris Coons, D-Delaare
• U.S. Representative John Katko, R-New York
• U.S. Representative Stephanie Murphy, D-Florida
• Gen. Colin L. Powell, former Secretary of State and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
• Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield, M.D.
“As a member of the NACo Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, I was pleased to hear updates from the White House Administration on efforts being made to address the issue of immigrant laborers in support of our farming community,” said Ehemann, who also noted many commissioners had questions on the agreements made with USMCA (United States- Mexico-Canada Agreement) and how that will benefit local markets.
“I was especially interested in seeing the results of a report NACo compiled in cooperation with other entities showing the lack of broadband connectivity in our country that was released at the conference. The data collected through the NACo developed TESTIT app identified areas with low or no connectivity that will help guide federal policy and funding decisions around broadband infrastructure.”
The conference featured three briefings on Capitol Hill: one on the intersection of health and justice in county jails; one on the county role in elections; and another on county priorities in transportation and infrastructure legislation.
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 the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee, Ehemann is active with NACo by serving as a member of the NACo Board of Directors and the Rural Action Caucus.