The White House staff in Washington must have something of a crush on Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston.
For the second time this month, Alston is heading to Washington, DC, for an event at the White House.
On Tuesday, Sept. 13, Alston was in attendance with President Joe Biden at a celebration of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. This week, Alston will be one of a handful of elected officials from North Carolina who’ll speak at the White House on how local governments in the state have been using the money from the American Rescue Plan and other large handouts from the federal government during the pandemic.
Alston said the White House was focusing the discussion on the use of the money in North Carolina, and he said there will be a representative of the National Association of Counties, the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners and a few other elected officials from the state who’ve played a role in spending the money.
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan is one of those few other elected officials who will be there.
“I will give some testimony on the way we’ve used the federal funds,” Alston said. “I’ll talk about the grants to small businesses, the use of the money for initiatives to feed the hungry and for rental assistance – as well as for helping out the arts.”
North Carolina is the second state to be highlighted by a White House meeting focusing on the use of the money. Ohio was the first.
“I don’t think they are going to do every state,” Alston said. “I think they just picked some.”
According to Alston, the Thursday, Sept. 22 event is likely to serve a dual purpose. It will allow state officials to get ideas from White House staff on the best ways to use the money, and it will also allow federal officials to know that the funding is being well spent by local governments across the state.
Everyone can hope that this visit turns out better for the country than on September 13 when Alston celebrated the Inflation Reduction Act. That morning, just before the start of the party, the government released new numbers that showed inflation was still rampant and, while Alston, the president and others partied on the White House lawn, the Dow Jones lost over 4 percent – the worst day since the start of the pandemic.
The party went on – sort of like a large wedding shower going forward hours after a bride and groom announcing that the wedding was off. The reason for the party may no longer have been valid, but, hey, everyone is already there and the food and drinks have been paid for – so what else are you going to do?
Alston assured the Rhino Times that the inflation numbers released on the morning of September 13 and the precipitous fall of the stock market didn’t dampen the spirits of those who attended the celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act.