WASHINGTON, D.C. Belmont County Commissioner Ginny Favede represented the county's interests in the nation's capital during the National Association of Counties' (NACo) 2014 Legislative Conference, March 1-5, in Washington, D.C.
More than 1,500 county officials from across the country demonstrated to Congress and federal officials that the nation's 3,069 county governments provide the essential building blocks to create healthy, vibrant and safe communities. This includes key public infrastructure, transportation and economic development; creating and sustaining a skilled workforce; ensuring public health and public safety and implementing federal, state and local programs in a cost-effective manner.
The focus of this year's conference was transportation. NACo members urged Congress to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill this year that provides long-term funding certainty for transportation infrastructure. A two-year surface transportation bill known "MAP-21" which supports many county surface transportation priorities expires in September. To help make the case for a long-term bill, NACo released The Road Ahead: County Transportation Funding and Financing, an analysis of county transportation funding sources, challenges and solutions across the 48 states with county governments.
"Whether you're talking about transportation, housing and economic development, health care or justice and public safety, it's important that Congress and federal officials hear directly from county officials about how we can work together to effectively serve the public," Favede said. "Our county's membership and active involvement in NACo makes that not only possible but highly effective. NACo and its strong voice are well respected in Washington."
Favede represents Belmont County nationally as part of the Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee Joint Meeting of the Economic and Workforce Development Subcommittee where the committee addressed proposed resolutions on FY 2015 Appropriations for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Permanent Authorization for EB-5 Regional Center Program, Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement and the proposed resolution urging Congress to Increase the Minimum Wage and Tie Future Increases to the Cost of Living Standard. The resolutions are now passed with the committee's recommendations onto the NACo Board of Directors.
In addition to carrying the county government message to Capitol Hill, county officials participated in a variety of educational workshops. Favede participated in the Innovative Transportation and Infrastructure Financing workshop to learn how counties are pursuing creative approaches to transportation funding and development with a particular focus on public-private partnerships. Additionally, Favede attended a session on Communicating Clearly During A Crisis to manage communications during a crisis situation to help the county keep our citizens safe, informed and reduce the possibility of misinformation being disseminated.
"I continue my efforts on behalf of Belmont County and take the opportunities presented to me in Washington D.C. very seriously. I do my best to utilize the time spent there to acquire information and knowledge to better our county," she said. Favede worked with the County Commissioners of the State of Ohio, as a member of the Executive Board of Directors to lobby the platform of Partnering to Build A Stronger Ohio. The County Commissioners Association of Ohio requested federal legislators to:
Support Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013
Oppose Efforts to Eliminate or Limit the Tax-Exempt status of Municipal Bonds
Support Community Development Block Grants (CDBG)
Support Road & Bridge Funding
Support Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act
Support Social sErvices Block Grant Program and
Oppose Unfunded Mandates for counties
Also during the Legislative Conference, participating county officials heard from national leaders on issues important to counties and communities, including Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Sec. Shaun Donovan, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Sec. Sally Jewell, U.S. Department of Interior and Sec. Anthony Foxx, U.S. Department of Transportation.