Friday, May 17, 2013

Large Counties take their voices to DC and the Hill

Recently, I had the opportunity to accompany NACo’s Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) “fly-in” for county advocacy that brought county leaders from the nation’s largest counties to Washington, D.C., where we met with members of Congress and their staff and Administration officials to discuss the legislative and policy priorities that affect large metropolitan counties and their residents. LUCC Chair Helen Holton (Council Member, Baltimore City) led the event, which took place from May 7-9, helping to impress upon key lawmakers and officials NACo’s message of Why Counties Matter.

While in Washington, we met with Democratic and Republican leadership from the House and Senate, as well as key staff from the House Appropriations Committee and House Ways and Means Committee. In these meetings, LUCC leaders discussed priorities for the FY2014 appropriations process, the Marketplace Fairness Act, tax reform issues including municipal bonds, and healthcare programs including Medicaid.

LUCC leaders also met with the Congressional Urban Caucus and one of its leaders, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), to identify shared priorities and to set the groundwork for future collaborations between LUCC and the Congressional Urban Caucus. In this meeting, NACo’s theme of Why Counties Matter was highlighted, including an emphasis of counties’ role in transportation and infrastructure, justice and law enforcement, and workforce readiness.

-with Congressman Scott Tipton

In addition to meetings which included House Speaker John Boehner and Senator Mark Udall's office, I was able to meet with Colorado Congressional members Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and Diana DeGette to discuss county concerns over the proposed elimination of tax exempt bonds which would have a detrimental impact on taxpayers, utilities, school and fire districts and local governments, especially considering that 75% of all national infrastructure is financed using this tool. My good friend from Miami-Dade County, Commissioner Sally Heyman introduced me to Congressman Gus Bilirakis who serves as vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

-with Congressman Gus Bilirakis
Location:Washington DC