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Director’s DE S K


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statewide leadership. And to top all this off we have a cracker- jack communications team with Director Christy L. Smith and newly hired Communications Coordinator Holland Doran.


I cannot brag enough on your AAC staff. At the close of each session I take stock of the fact that our group is at the top in ef- fectiveness and capability at the state Capitol, and I want to take column space here to thank them for ALL of the great work they do. You guys are indeed the best team of advocators I have ever seen assembled, and you truly care about county govern- ment and its success. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to walk with you into the legislative battles up the hill.


While the work this staff performs is incredible, it is noth- ing without your help. Te county and district officials of this state provide a powerful, formidable voice. Often lost in policy discussion at the Capitol is the implementation and potential pitfalls in your offices. You all are so very capable in this area, and the practical, hands-on knowledge and experience that you bring is immeasurably important.


Te ability to communicate this impact is not developed


overnight, and if your first call to a legislator is during a session, let me encourage you to reflect on the relationships you and your county officials have with your legislators. Now is the time for them to return home, and to go alongside you to pie auc- tions and speaking engagements across your county. Tis is the time for you to build these relationships … invite your senator


or representative into the courthouse, teach them the details of your job and ask that they return to Little Rock with your interests in mind — and your cell phone number firmly set on their speed-dial.


Te progress we all make as counties isn’t begun during a ses-


sion. It is instead developed person-to-person, county-by-coun- ty as you take advantage of the local opportunities presented to you. As you learn of the impacts the bills that were passed into acts will have on you and your office, reach out to those legisla- tors who voted for them and thank them for their help.


We will all go to member association conferences over the next two months, and AAC staff will detail the bills of interest to our counties. Our handout (which you should have already received by mail) on the Index of County Government Acts is incredibly important. Please take time to look at these acts ahead of time and come to these meetings with any questions you might have.


As I think back on the success of this and previous legislative sessions, I am reminded of a quote by Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; work- ing together is success.” For the counties of Arkansas and the AAC, as 75 counties with one strong voice at the Capitol, this statement rings so true of our efforts legislatively, and I want to thank all of you, members and staff alike, for your work fulfill- ing the vision of Henry Ford’s quote.


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