There are a lot of differences between the 100 counties of North Carolina, but, when it comes to those counties and the group that collectively represents them – the NC Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) – those involved would like to see a good deal of federal relief flowing into the counties to help them fight the battle against the coronavirus and help them recover from its consequences.
The association, which was founded about a century and a decade ago, has faced a lot of challenges in that time – including even a pandemic – and, this week, the association was trying to bring the state’s counties together in a coordinated way to lobby the federal government for recovery money. Since the beginning of the outbreak earlier this year, the NCACC has been working with its local, state and federal partners to help bring about that result.
On Saturday, April 18, the National Association of Counties (NACo) held a virtual briefing with state associations across the country, and, on the following day, the NCACC issued a federal call to action that included a request for generous government relief in future federal relief packages.
Then, on Tuesday, April 21, the NCACC held a conference call with the county managers of counties in North Carolina that included COVID-19 updates from the NC Department of Health and Human Services, a question and answer session and a federal advocacy update from Jim McCleskey, the director of Governor Roy Cooper’s Washington office. On that call, the county managers also heard from a consulting firm that’s attempting to help the association persuade the feds to take a major role in aiding the counties’ recovery efforts.
Also this week, NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard took part in a virtual meeting with the Business Task Force Subgroup, part of the governor’s task force set up to address the COVID-19 crisis. Cooper created the task force earlier this year to help the state brace for, and respond to, the coronavirus hit – which, of course, in addition to negative health consequences, has also done quite a number on the state’s businesses.
At the end of the week, on Friday, April 24, NCACC Government Relations Director Amber Harris moderated a call between county officials and US Congressman Richard Hudson – who represents North Carolina’s 8th congressional district.
The federal government has already enacted sweeping aid packages due to the pandemic and more are expected.