NACo’s New President Discusses the Importance of “Connecting the Unconnected”
San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox was sworn in as the 2018-19 President of the National Association of Counties (NACo) on Monday.
When I first got involved in NACo more than 15 years ago, I never would have thought that I would be serving years later as NACo’s President.
But this week, I was honored and humbled to be sworn in to lead this outstanding organization in the year ahead.
My new position is another step in my long and rewarding life in public service. My parents were both public school teachers and instilled in me an ethic of service to the public. And for the last two decades, I’ve done just that as a San Diego County Supervisor representing one of the most diverse and underserved districts in our region.
Now, as I take over the reins of leadership at NACo, I look to partner with my colleagues in the 3,069 counties across America to determine how best to reach out and serve the residents in our communities.
If there’s one thing I’ve seen time and time again during my years of service, it’s the importance of local government. We are closest to the people served by government and they rely on us in both good times and bad.
Local government works. We pursue solutions and get things done. We are not constrained by partisanship as are many of our counterparts at the state and federal levels.
My commitment is to unify counties behind NACo’s vision to achieve healthy, safe and thriving counties across America.
I call it, “Connecting the Unconnected.”
This initiative will explore the many ways counties connect people in our society. Every day, we see that when people are left behind and isolated, it creates unhealthy and negative consequences in our communities.
This initiative builds on NACo’s previous effort led by the Honorable Roy Charles Brooks, “Serving the Underserved”, by continuing to inform and illustrate how counties help all of our citizens forge pathways to sustainability.
Over the course of the next year, NACo will demonstrate how counties deliver services to people, maximize government efficiency and ensure responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
We will focus on three key areas:
- TECHNOLOGY – NACo will showcase best-in-class technology that helps counties deliver critical services.
This includes 2-1-1 and other centralized resource centers; telemedicine; broadband (especially in rural areas) and public transportation technologies.
- DATA – NACo will demonstrate the importance of data-driven decision making in improving resource allocation.
In baseball, they call it analytics and they use it to set defenses and fix launch angles so hitters can hit more home runs.
Here at NACo, we’re going to use data analytics, cross-agency data sharing and targeted delivery models so we can hit home runs for the public and do a better job of delivering core county services like mental health programs, substance abuse treatment, justice reform, housing, transportation and veterans’ resources.
- FINANCING – NACo will illustrate the importance of public-private partnerships to ensure sustainable funding and coordination of services.
This includes partnerships with neighboring jurisdictions, community-based organizations and other public and private sector partners to provide long-term resources to support county programs.
The Connecting the Unconnected initiative is designed for counties of all shapes and sizes. What works in one county may not work in another. There is no cookie-cutter approach to connecting residents. But we share similar challenges and can learn from one another’s experiences. Together, we can be an immense force for the public good.
The promise of public service that inspired me to seek public office remains as vital and necessary as ever.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
I look forward to continuing to work with our counties to provide a better future for the most vulnerable members of society and for all our residents!