Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus participated in the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C. earlier this week. The conference is an opportunity for NACo members to discuss legislative issues and programs important to counties and communities, attend educational workshops, and hear from nationally prominent government leaders and commentators.
The primary purpose of the Legislative Conference is for county officials, including County Executive Steinhaus, who represents the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) on the NACo Board of Directors, to review and make recommendations on issues and legislation important to counties and residents of their communities.
“Many of the issues we have prioritized in Dutchess County are also issues facing counties across the nation,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “The goal of the NACo Legislative Conference is to make sure the issues and concerns facing county governments are heard by our elected officials in Washington, DC.”
As a NACo Board member, County Executive Steinhaus participated in the adoption of numerous policy positions, recommended by the association’s steering committees. Some of those policy positions include:
- Job Protection for Volunteer Firefighters Responding to Disasters – supporting legislation that provides job protection for volunteer firefighters and emergency responders who are deployed to catastrophic emergencies and disasters.
- Elimination of the Federal Bridge Program – opposing the elimination of the federal highway bridge program and the Off-System Bridge Set Aside as part of the surface transportation reauthorization.
Multiple educational sessions were offered throughout the Conference. Some of the sessions County Executive Steinhaus participated in included:
- Transforming America’s Workforce: Leveraging Local, State and Federal Investments in Training and Job Creation
- Sustainable Communities Resources: Incentive Grants for Regional Planning and Development Projects
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Education and training for our workforce is critical to sustain our economy. Our Dutchess Community College is a key element in that education and training. We need to be ready to embrace the emerging job opportunities and new industries for today’s workers as well as generations to come.”
County Executive Steinhaus and other NACo members also had the opportunity to hear from Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, United States Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for Policy William Spriggs and United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.
County Executive Steinhaus and other county officials representing the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) also had a private meeting with intergovernmental staff from the White House to discuss issues important to New York State counties.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a national organization that represents county governments in the United States. NACo advances issues with a unified voice before the federal government, improves the public's understanding of county government, assists counties in finding and sharing innovative solutions through education and research, and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money.