Fort Worth, Texas (KETK) — Smith County Judge Joel Baker and Precinct 4 Commissioner JoAnn Hampton recently joined 2,300 fellow county officials from across the country during the 2013 NACo Annual Conference: County Solutions and Idea Marketplace in Tarrant County/Fort Worth, Texas to establish national policies affecting counties and work collaboratively to find and share innovative solutions to challenges facing American communities. The theme of this year’s annual conference was Why Counties Matter.
NACo’s Annual Conference is the most important gathering of county officials of the year. Decisions made during the conference allow counties to speak with a strong, clear and unified voice to the Administration, Congress and the American people on issues ranging from transportation and water infrastructure, health care and court and jail systems. In addition, delegates in attendance elected and installed its 2013-14 association officers to lead NACo and heard from prominent national speakers.
Judge Baker said the conference was productive and informative.
“Congress and administration officials need to fully understand and appreciate why counties matter in America’s system of federalism,” Judge Baker said.
Commissioner JoAnn Hampton added that the experience was one-of-a-kind.
“Through NACo we are reminding our federal representatives that county government delivers essential services directly to the American people. Local government needs to be heard in Washington, D.C.”
While at the conference, Judge Baker and Commissioner Hampton also accepted the prestigious NACo Achievement Award on behalf of Smith County. The award was presented to Smith County for its role on the Tax Trust Neighborhood Revitalization Project (TTNRP); a collaboration of four independent taxing entities working together to transform five designated neighborhoods through the creation of affordable, new housing.
In addition, conference attendees heard from experts and prominent national speakers throughout the four-day conference, including U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.