From left: Mark Meadows, US Congressman, 11th District; Page Lemel, Transylvania County Commissioner, Vice-Chair; Gayle Woody, Jackson County Commissioner; Ronnie Beale, Macon County Commissioner
Washington, D.C. – December 4-6, 2019 Transylvania County Commissioner Page Lemel traveled to Washington, D.C to attend the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) Board of Directors meeting and discuss pressing county issues with North Carolina’s Congressional delegation and White House officials. During the visit, Lemel also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony, presented by NCACC’s Executive Officers, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with the NCACC, as well as the National Association of County Commissioners, on issues that are important to our citizens,” said Lemel. “Additionally, having time to network with county commissioners from across the state during this time helped to educate me on ways I can do my job better.”
NCACC Board of Directors convened for regular business and received leadership reports, a financial report, a risk management update, and state and federal legislative updates. Staff from the National Association of Counties (NACo) briefed the group on the latest developments on Capitol Hill on broadband issues, inmate medical care, workforce development, and other county issues. The board also heard from NCACC President Kevin Austin about recent progress on his Pathways Initiative to help North Carolina youth navigate pathways toward meaningful careers.
Following the Board meeting, the group attended a panel discussion hosted by the White House to discuss federal efforts to expand broadband access, and support for community revitalization and disaster recovery. Anthony Foti, U.S. Department of Commerce; Chap Rupe, U.S. Department of Agriculture; Loren Smith, U.S. Department of Transportation; and Alfonso Costa, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development led a discussion about federal programs to improve access to high-speed internet, and rural development. Chris Pilkerton, Acting Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Mark Harvey, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Resilience, National Security Council, addressed community resilience and disaster recovery.
NCACC also hosted an event with North Carolina’s Congressional delegation. U.S. Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis participated in the event as well as U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (NC-12), Dan Bishop (NC-9), G.K. Butterfield (NC-1), Mark Meadows (NC-11) and David Price (NC-4). Jim McCleskey, North Carolina Director of Federal Government Relations for Governor Roy Cooper, also participated. Commissioners discussed with the Congressional delegation the need to expand access to high-speed internet, support for veterans, and challenges related to community and workforce development and disaster recovery.
In addition, NCACC Board Members visited Arlington Cemetery to participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honor the sacrifices of America’s veterans and their families. NCACC President Kevin Austin, Yadkin County Commissioner, NCACC President-Elect Ronnie Smith, Martin County Commissioner, NCACC First Vice President Frank Williams, Brunswick County Commissioner, and NCACC Second Vice President Tracey Johnson, Washington County Commissioner presented the wreath on behalf of the Board.
The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) is the official voice of all 100 counties on issues being 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.