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William R. Steinhaus, County Executive
Steinhaus Recaps White House Meeting with President Obama
Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus was in Washington, D.C. meeting with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden for the County Officials Meeting held today at the White House. County Executive Steinhaus was part of a small group of county officials selected from across the country invited to discuss county issues with the President and Vice President as well as several Cabinet Secretaries and senior White House policy staff. The five hour meeting, which wrapped up just after 6pm this evening, focused on a wide range of issues and included diverse dialogue.
“Today’s meeting was productive and set the groundwork for future dialogue with the President on the issues facing county governments locally. We secured a commitment from the White House for continued dialogue and engagement with county officials,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
Vice President Joseph Biden spoke with county officials about the economic competition the nation faces from China and the need for education innovation to compete in the global marketplace.
President Obama addressed several topics with the county officials later in the day including:
According to County Executive Steinhaus, the President acknowledged the key role that counties provide in the delivery of services and programs, noting that counties are in the trenches providing services directly to people. The President stated he wanted to have “counties engaged in partnership” with the federal government to meet the core mission of serving the country.
The common theme echoed by county officials from across the nation was the concern and anxiety that as the Federal government seeks to address the deficit, more responsibility for program and service delivery will be pushed down to county governments without the accompanying funding, driving up local property taxes.
“It is critical that federal officials do not try to solve their financial difficulties by pushing the costs down to county governments,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “That message was delivered loud and clear to federal officials today.”
Additionally, the following Cabinet secretaries participated in today’s White House County Officials Meeting:
President Obama also took a moment to speak about the determination of the United States and his pride in how the nation pulls together in key moments, as evidenced with announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden. Spontaneous applause broke out from the county officials at the President’s words.
Following the meeting, President Obama took the time to interact one on one with many county officials, including County Executive Steinhaus. County Executive Steinhaus thanked President Obama for taking the time out of his busy schedule to meet with county officials and exchanged a handshake with the President.
Today’s meeting was initiated by the National Association of Counties (NACo). County Executive Steinhaus serves on NACo’s Board of Directors representing all counties in New York State.
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