Idaho County Officials Travel to Minnesota for NACo Board Meeting

7 Dec 2023, by Jessica Roth Share :

By Kathy Ackerman, Idaho County Clerk

The National Association of Counties (NACo) Board of Directors meeting was held November 30 through December 2 in Ramsey County, St. Paul, Minnesota—the home of NACo President Mary Jo McGuire. The Idaho attendees were Carol Moehrle, North Central Public Health/National Association of County and City Health Officials; Vic Pearson, Franklin County Prosecutor/IAC President; and Kathy Ackerman, Idaho County Clerk/IAC’s NACo Board Representative.

The two and a half day meeting included an offsite tour of 3M’s Innovation Center where development of the numerous 3M products we use daily were highlighted in a unique and interactive way. While at 3M, we also heard from numerous program directors and community leaders who have worked collaboratively to engage young people through a driver’s license academy and a career academy, as well as a program called Roadtrip Nation designed to empower people to define their own roads in life. Most of these projects have been made possible through the use of ARPA funding and donations from corporations, such as 3M, who have a vested interest in supporting the workforce of the future—young people. The overarching motto of these endeavors was a quote from Louis Pasteur, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”

Other highlights included several speakers who addressed these four components of leadership: Connect and Build Bridges Among County Officials, Inspire Engagement, Lead Intergovernmental Partnerships, and Building Trust for Excellence in Public Service. We heard from Bill Doherty of Braver Angels-a group that seeks to encourage and inspire communication and civility between political and social groups (think, Urban vs. Rural). Braver Angels started as an informal meeting of people of various strips after the 2016 election. It was so wildly successful that they have branches all across the U. S. and have developed numerous courses to assist in bridging the divide.  You can read more about them on their website.

Did you know that Ramsey County is where SPAM is made? And Salted Nut Rolls?  Giveaways of these two products were sprinkled throughout the meeting. We were also entertained by the Ironwood High School Choir, who serenaded us with Christmas carols during breakfast one morning and the Hmong Dancers, another group of young people who shared their culture and grace with us.

During the official Board Meeting, there was a review of the NACo Mission and the 2024 Legislative Priorities. Like IAC, NACo seeks to be a resource for all counties, big and small. We discussed opportunities to reach rural counties specifically, as rural counties often feel that they don’t really have a place at the table or that they can really benefit from NACo offerings. As your NACo Board Representative, I will be working to address these concerns more pointedly in the future. 

Thank you for allowing me to represent Idaho. My goal for the coming year is to see an Idaho county spotlighted in the NACo Achievement Awards. Idaho counties do amazing work!

To learn more about NACo, visit their website.