or continuing county service, we look forward to your partici- pation in the National Association of Counties (NACo) in the coming year. For many of you, this may be your first time holding public of-


fice. More than a decade ago, I was in the same position when I was first elected to the Leon County, Fla. Board of Commissioners. In my early days as a commissioner, just as my state associa-

tion proved to be invaluable, I quickly learned that NACo was also tremendously helpful. Trough unique services, resources and programs, NACo empowered me to be a more effective county leader, and I know NACo will equip you to better serve your county. Here’s a quick snapshot of what we’re doing at the national level to keep counties healthy, vibrant and safe.

Federal Advocacy

Washington, D.C. may seem distant and unrelated to your day-to-day responsibilities, but decisions made by the White House, Congress and federal courts have major, cascading im- pacts on our ability to lead our communities and pursue a better future. Federal legislation, regulations and unfunded mandates can significantly affect county budgets and our residents’ lives. NACo adeptly represents our nation’s 3,069 counties, par- ishes and boroughs in our intergovernmental system and offers resources to keep county officials informed and engaged on is- sues important to our residents. County News, your print and online newspaper, connects you to counties across the nation. Policy briefs, reports and other resources can be found at www. NACo also gives its members the opportunity to be directly

involved in the federal policy process. More than 1,300 mem- bers serve on NACo committees, boards and caucuses that ad- dress a wide variety of issues. Trough our 10 policy steering committees, members set

NACo’s agenda and legislative priorities. In 2016, our members testified before Congress on key legislative and regulatory issues facing counties and represented counties on more than 50 fed- eral task forces and advisory groups. NACo is truly elevating county voices in Washington, D.C., and I encourage you to get involved by joining a policy committee.

Resources For many county leaders, serving on the county board is a

part-time job with full-time responsibilities. Tat’s why NACo provides easily accessible, online resources that will save you time and energy.


Turn to pages 38 and 39 to view photos from the training seminars the Association of Arkansas Counties (AAC) hosted Dec. 5-15, 2016 for Arkansas’ newly elected county and dis- trict officials.


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Welcome, newly elected officials From NACo NACo’s award-winning County

017 brings new faces to all levels of government, and thousands of leaders are beginning new roles in county government. To those leaving county govern- ment, thank you for your service. To those beginning

Explorer gives you access to county- specific data right at your fingertips. Tis interactive online tool, with more than 900 data sets, grows every month with new research and up- dates. It also provides county-specific profiles for issues such as endangered species and transportation, and state- specific profiles for issues like tax-ex- empt municipal bonds. We maintain a grants clearing- house with hundreds of federal grant opportunities for counties. Tis online, one-stop shop enables NACo members to search for grants by category, eligibility, funder type and state. Lastly, you’ll be making difficult decisions every day, and

Bryan Desloge NACo President

NACo understands how important it is to have accurate infor- mation readily available. NACo offers a large collection of re- search publications, reports and webinars online for free. NACo is here to help you and your county thrive.

Cost-Saving Solutions Budget constraints are an issue in every county, and NACo

provides programs designed to save your county and residents money. Here are some examples:

• U.S. Communities Cooperative Purchasing Alliance — Leveraging the purchasing power of more than 70,000 public sector entities.

• Nationwide Deferred Compensation and other employee benefits — Helping more than 1.5 million county em- ployees and retirees save more than $15 billion extra for retirement.

Live Healthy U.S. Counties — NACo member counties have achieved $650 million in savings on prescription drug, health and dental services for county residents.

I encourage you to leverage your NACo membership to ben-

efit your communities and residents. Together, we can build stronger counties and a stronger America.

Te Hon. Bryan Desloge is the president of the National Associa- tion of Counties and a Leon County, Fla. commissioner. For more information, contact

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