The Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) hosted its 2022 Midwinter Legislative Conference at the Riverside Hotel in Boise at the beginning of February. The four-day conference brought Idaho’s county elected officials and staff together for workshops, district and committee meetings, award announcements, a tour of the Idaho State Capitol, and the opportunity to connect with Idaho’s legislators during the Legislative Reception.
“The Midwinter Legislative Conference is where we put our legislative positions into action,” said IAC President Chris Goetz. “I’m proud of the important work we did as a membership at this conference.”
The Midwinter Legislative Conference is unique in that Idaho’s Legislature is concurrently in session, so the conference provides a valuable opportunity for IAC members to connect directly with their legislators. The Legislative Reception held at the Riverside Hotel brought county elected officials and legislators together for dinner, drinks, and lively discussion on issues impacting counties. These networking events are important because they foster long-lasting relationships between local government and state policy makers.
Another notable component of the Midwinter Legislative Conference is the annual awards ceremony where distinguished officials from various affiliate associations are recognized by peers for their dedication and significant contributions to their counties. The Mills-Adler Award is named in honor of two distinguished county elected officials: the late Darwin Mills, Lincoln County Sheriff, and the late Betty Adler, Payette County Treasurer. Both exemplified the qualities all county elected officials strive for.
Recipients of the Mills-Adler Award for 2021:
Dwight Davis, Cassia County Assessor
Phil McGrane, Ada County Clerk
Skip Brandt, Idaho County Commissioner
Vic Pearson, Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney
Tracie Lloyd, Canyon County Treasurer
The second distinction presented at the conference was the H. Sydney Duncombe Award, which is IAC’s highest honor given to individuals that have greatly contributed to furthering county government through development and education in Idaho. The award was created in 1988 in honor of the late Dr. H. Sydney Duncombe, who taught and trained numerous county officials in their roles and responsibilities.
The recipient of the H. Sydney Duncombe Award for Excellence in County Government is Kathy Ackerman, Idaho County Clerk and IAC Immediate Past President. “Her uncompromising level of integrity and dedication to serve sets Kathy apart as a true leader,” said Goetz, who presented the award to an awestruck Ackerman. Ackerman expressed her gratitude and love for what she does while accepting the honor.
In addition to the ceremony, the conference’s general sessions provided educational opportunities for the IAC membership. Larry Johnson, the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) president, attended the event as a keynote speaker and addressed the membership during Tuesday’s general session. He commended counties on their resilience during times of duress and encouraged them to continue their path of leadership and strength.
Governor Brad Little also spoke at the conference and took questions from the membership during Tuesday’s general session. He provided an update on timely issues pertinent to counties, and he illustrated how Idaho is well-positioned for economic prosperity. Motivational speaker Derrick Boles presented the Leadership to Lead during Wednesday’s general session and shared his story of perseverance after surviving multiple strokes.
In addition to keynote speakers, there was a Legislative Leadership Panel Discussion moderated by Boise State University Professor Dr. Stephanie Witt. Dr. Witt is Director of Training for the School of Public Service and a Professor in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) and Political Science programs. Panelists from Idaho’s Legislature included Senator Chuck Winder, President Pro Tem, Senator Michelle Stennett, Minority Leader, Representative Scott Bedke, Speaker of the House, and Representative Ilana Rubel, Minority Leader. The discussions were thoughtful and relevant as counties are currently working toward advancing their annual legislative priorities as set by the IAC membership at the Annual Conference in September.
Updates were also given by IAC executive staff Seth Grigg and Sara Westbrook on important topics impacting counties such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARAP) Final Rule. Smaller breakout sessions, committee meetings and roundtables facilitated deeper discussion on topics such as property taxes, broadband, capital infrastructure, public safety and ARPA. There was also time scheduled for affiliate groups to meet and enter executive session as needed.
“The conference was fun, productive and informative,” said Goetz. “It’s heartening to see what we can accomplish when we come together as a membership.”
Additionally, the conference hosted a variety of exhibitors, event sponsors and IAC Corporate Partners like ICRMP and GemPlan. The conference is an excellent opportunity for companies to gain exposure and connect with county officials and potential customers across the state. Learn more about our corporate partnership and advertising opportunities here.
To see the full photo album from the conference and download pictures, visit our flickr page.