Special to Iredell Free News
Iredell County Commissioner Gene Houpe represented Iredell County as a voting delegate for the 2021 N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Legislative Goals Conference.
During the virtual conference, county delegates across North Carolina participated in a series of voting sessions to develop NCACC’s legislative agenda, which will guide county advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels of government. The full list of approved goals is available HERE.
Houpe serves on the Board of Directors as District 12 Director and was designated as the voting delegate for Iredell County.
Delegates finalized a slate of dozens of goals, including long-standing priorities on expanding broadband access, funding for public school facilities, and efforts to preserve and expand local revenue for counties.
Counties also voted to support new goals to address challenges that emerged as a result of the pandemic, including food insecurity. Counties adopted a new goal to support food supply chain initiatives and funding for North Carolina food banks as well as other equipment, supplies, and other nonrecurring expenses. This goal will further NCACC President Ronnie Smith’s yearlong Resilience Initiative to strengthen North Carolina’s food ecosystem.
The conference also featured remarks by Gov. Roy Cooper, N.C. Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, and N.C. Speaker of the House Tim Moore.
The governor called for robust investments in broadband and other vital infrastructure and emphasized the importance of addressing gaps in healthcare coverage, especially in light of the pandemic. Cooper also discussed the state’s progress in implementing disaster recovery programs including the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery and Hazard Mitigation programs.
Sen. Berger expressed interest in hearing county priorities, including issues related to authority for local taxes. He also acknowledged the challenges counties are facing as a result of the pandemic and its economic impact.
Speaker Moore pledged to continue to work for robust school capital funding, and said the N.C. House is working to distribute more funding to local government and small businesses to address COVID-19 challenges.
The Legislative Goals Conference is the final step in comprehensive, grassroots process, which began in July. Every county is invited to submit proposals, which are approved by their Board of County
Commissioners. This year, NCACC received hundreds of goal proposals, which were initially reviewed and vetted by NCACC’s seven Steering Committees. Then, the Legislative Goals Committee reviewed and refined the goals and recommended the package to the NCACC Board of Directors. In December, the Board approved the goals package for consideration by voting delegates at the Legislative Goals
About the NCACC
The N.C. Association of County Commissioners is a bipartisan organization, which represents the official voice of all 100 counties on issues considered by the General Assembly, Congress, and federal and state agencies. The Association provides expertise to counties in the areas of advocacy, research, risk management and education and leadership training.