The National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Conference – a five-day event held in February each year in Washington, D.C. – is a chance for elected county officials to meet and confer with federal officials.

This year, Guilford County was well represented, with seven of its nine county commissioners attending at least some of the conference.

Every year, the conference brings together about 2,000 elected and appointed county officials and allows them to focus on federal policy issues that affect counties and their residents.  In the words of NACo’s promotional literature, “Attendees have the opportunity to engage in second-to-none policy sessions, meet the members of the 118th Congress and interact with federal agency officials.”

There are also some great meals, side trips and parties, but the commissioners who attend say that these conferences are very productive and informative.

Over the course of five days, which ran from Friday, Feb.10 to Valentine’s Day, the county leaders heard from and interacted with high-ranking federal officials and staff.  One key speaker this year was US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg – due the fact that in the past year the counties have received huge amounts of federal money that’s being put toward transportation and other infrastructure projects.

Democratic Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and Republican Commissioner Pat Tillman said after the event that it was very beneficial.  Tillman said that given the amount of federal money going to local projects these days it was good to have those lines of communication open up.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, President Joe Biden addressed the group.

One goal of the event, according to NACo, is to offer the commissioners “a one-of-a-kind advocacy opportunity to strengthen our intergovernmental partnerships for years to come.”