The County Voice

Deeply Honored to Serve as NACo 2nd Vice President

I am deeply honored and appreciative that my colleagues from around the country have elected me Second Vice President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). I am deeply honored and appreciative that the two other trailblazers who had campaigned for the same position ultimately endorsed me and presented nominating speeches. And I am deeply honored and appreciative by the amazing support I received from my California colleagues.

Mounting a campaign of this magnitude is an enormous task – a task that is virtually impossible without a strong team. I owe a debt of gratitude to the staff members from San Diego County and CSAC who took on this task on top of their regular, heavy workloads. It’s a testament to the support and commitment we are fortunate to have, not only in our own counties, but also from our state association.

And so while it’s time to take a deep breath and reflect on what we have accomplished, that time will be short lived as we turn our focus to what lies ahead. In a recent NACo Annual Report, our national association’s executive Director, Matt Chase (not to be confused with our very own Matt Cate), said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” I couldn’t agree more.

In my platform, I focus on the goal of “Live Well America.” To do that, we need to expand collaborative services in our communities and build stronger partnerships with community groups and the private sector through such efforts as the 2-1-1 system.  We must also enhance economic development across the country to create stable and sustainable communities whether urban, suburban, or rural.  We must elevate the needs of our 22 million veterans who too often are in homeless shelters or face mental health issues.  And we must continue to aggressively develop and pursue national priorities that reflect the great range of priorities and communities in our state and throughout our country. 

In order for us to strive toward this on a number of different fronts, our national association needs to continue playing a leading role, from advocating, protecting and furthering county interests to providing best practices from which counties can learn, from promoting collaborative efforts in our communities to developing a new generation of leaders, from working on behalf of Americans of all ages, races and preferences to representing all counties of all sizes and locations. NACo must lead.

Times are rapidly changing and our national association must continue to adapt – and when possible, lead the adaptation. As an association and as individual counties, we are facing issues today that a few years ago we never dreamed of. That cycle is going to just get faster. Government is not known for its quick response and ability to rapidly shift direction. But NACo is not encumbered by the restrictions and yes, even the bureaucracy we often find at home. It displays an entrepreneurial spirit that must continue. It must take us in directions that may not even be on the drawing boards today.

I am confident that NACo can do just that by using its greatest resource – its members. Now more than ever, we need to work collaboratively with our colleagues across the country.  And only then can we ensure our advocacy, educational and financial efforts are effective. California is now a “100 percent state,” meaning all 58 of our counties are NACo members. It is important that California continues to have a strong voice in our national association as we move forward.

While my officer position within NACo will provide me with a stage, I invite you to partner with me, to share your perspective and priorities, to participate in NACo policy committees, and to join me and our colleagues to ensure that California’s counties and its 296 supervisors are at the table and driving the national agenda.  Our great unity and strength can make a lasting impact in our communities. 

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