Idaho’s County Members Visit Washington, D.C., for 2024 NACo Legislative Conference

16 Feb 2024, by Jessica Roth Share :

By Kathy Ackerman, Idaho County Clerk and NACo Board Member

Idaho was well represented at the 2024 National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference held in Washington, D.C., February 10-13. The conference was attended by Kathy Ackerman (Idaho County), Skip Brandt (Idaho County), Denis Duman (Idaho County), Vic Pearson (Franklin County), Jeff Hough (Bannock County), Sherry Maupin (Valley County), Rod Beck (Ada County), Cindy Riegel (Teton County), Tom Lamar (Latah County), Carol Moehrle (Nez Perce County), and Sara Westbrook and Seth Grigg, both of the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC).

We each attended committee meetings that were held on the first day covering a wide range of NACo legislative priorities. Broadband build-out and accessibility continues to be a priority, along with election integrity and election worker safety. Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) are important not only to Idaho counties but to many other counties across the US. Passage of the long-anticipated Farm Bill was also in the forefront with an emphasis on the inclusion of county priorities. There was significant reporting and discussion about possible solutions to issues that counties face during our meetings and, as always, NACo had a full portfolio of resources to aid counties in understanding the issues and advocating to members of Congress.

There were also special breakout sessions that hit on three developing issues of national importance: Election Administration, Artificial Intelligence, and Disaster Preparedness. Engaging and thought-provoking content made these sessions valuable to attendees.

NACo Board members (Vic, Kathy, and Carol) were also presented with a draft of “The Marvelous Adventures of Countyland,” an AI-generated children’s book published by NACo. The story focuses on the various county officials and their role in communities. This publication will be a useful in educating people—young and old—about county government once the final version is made available for wider distribution. On the topic, I’d like to remind members that April is National County Government Month (NCGM). This is another great opportunity to engage our local communities and educate them on the valuable, critical work counties do.

President Biden spoke to our group on Monday. NACo, as a non-partisan organization, always invites the POTUS, regardless of the political affiliation of the person currently holding the office. To have a sitting US President address our group speaks volumes of the reputation and credibility of NACo.

The final day of the conference was spent on Capitol Hill speaking with staffers from our members of Congress. These conversations are always fruitful, allowing us to express our concerns and the staffers to update us on happenings on the Federal front.

Traveling to Washington, D.C. is an incredible opportunity. Although it is a very busy time, most of us find an opening in our varied schedules to check out some of the history and sights while there. Washington, D. C. and the NACo conference never disappoint.

To learn more about NACo, visit their website.

View photos from the trip on our Flickr page.