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Administration Officials

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt: “The White House’s State Leadership Days are one of the many, inventive initiatives that the Trump Administration has put forth to both strengthen federal collaboration with state, local, and tribal partners and advance good neighbor policies. I appreciate the opportunities to visit with and learn from leaders across the country as their input and insight are invaluable in our work and service to the American people.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue: “As a former Governor, I have never seen an Administration do as much outreach to local and state elected officials and be so inclusive as President Trump and this Administration has been. State Leadership Days are a great opportunity for local leaders to come to Washington and advocate on behalf of the people they serve. I am pleased to be able to welcome them to our nation’s capital and update them on agricultural issues impacting their communities.”

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross: “As an outsider to the political circles of Washington DC, I know the critical impact a different perspective can have, especially when the effects of choices made here ripple across the country and fundamentally change the lives of people we would never see otherwise. This is why State Leadership days are such an invaluable opportunity – providing the decision makers of this great nation the chance to meet and discuss the topics that effect millions of Americans.”

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson: “State Leadership Days demonstrate President Trump’s commitment to help lift up all Americans across our nation. From housing to highways, every community has its own unique set of goals, and the Trump Administration has made it a priority to not only learn from local leaders about their needs, but to also address those needs.”

Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao: “Good transportation infrastructure is vital to a growing economy and a better quality of life.  White House State Leadership days are helpful because they help build productive partnerships on transportation issues between national, state and local government. With local insights and knowledge provided during these events, the Department can provide better assistance to states and local communities.”

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry: “State constituencies are unique and deserve personalized attention, which is why State Leadership Days are so vital.  I am grateful that this Administration continues to place a high priority on providing such vehicles for grassroots leaders to speak truth to power. Our government is supposed to serve its people, not the other way around.  And so I am honored to hear directly from state leaders so we may better serve them and their citizens.”

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: “Decisions about education must be made at the most local level.  Those closest to students know best and play a key role in expanding education freedom.  White House State Leadership Days provide yet another way for the Cabinet to hear directly from state and local leaders about what’s working in their states and what we can do at the Federal level to get out of their way.  I’m grateful to the President for his leadership as we work together to expand education freedom and for elevating the voices of those closest to students to the White House.”

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler: “President Trump and his administration are listening to and working closely with communities that have long been neglected or written off, and the State Leadership Days play a critical role in those efforts. President Trump’s leadership has opened new lines of communication with hardworking Americans across the country, and because we are listening to their concerns we are making tremendous progress protecting public health and the environment while reducing burdensome regulations and providing greater regulatory certainty.”

Acting Administrator of the Small Business Administration Chris Pilkerton: “White House State Leadership Days are among some of the many beneficial engagement opportunities for local and state partners that have been prioritized by President Trump. I value the time that I’ve spent with leaders from around the country in order to hear directly from them about the impact of the Administration’s policies. From workforce development to Opportunity Zones to the resources and services provided by the SBA, it is clear that this Administration is creating jobs and fostering economic mobility in their communities.”

Local Leaders

National Association of Counties President, Commissioner Mary Ann Borgeson (Douglas County, NE): “In-person communications and professional relationships are essential to building strong intergovernmental partnerships. Through this historic outreach, county leaders and top Administration officials discussed many issues important to our counties and communities, including disaster preparedness and recovery, infrastructure, Federal regulations, the opioid epidemic and substance abuse, and public lands management.”

National Association of Counties Second Vice President, Judge/Executive Gary Moore (Boone County, KY): “I applaud President Trump and his Administration for reaching out to local governments for our input and a dialog about key issues impacting our country and our varying levels of government.  Counties are facing many challenges and having a strong Federal partner in addressing the needs of our citizens is greatly appreciated and badly needed.  We are stronger together and it is encouraging to know that our President gets it!”

City Council Member Colby Fulfer (Springdale, AR): “Over time the chasm that divides the Federal and local government has continued to expand.  Our greatest reach into Washington D.C. has been through our Congressmen and Senators, but never an opportunity to engage with the Executive branch of our government.  To say that I was surprised when I was invited to The White House this summer would be an incredible understatement…I was able to relay to the Administration the issues we face in our city as well as ask multiple questions. This was an unprecedented attempt to bridge the divide between the Federal and local government.  It was an honor to attend and look forward to future opportunities.”

Supervisor Bruce Bracker (Santa Cruz County, AZ): “Inviting county supervisors and other locally elected officials ensures that decision makers in Washington hear the realities of the situation at the local level and grasp the possible repercussions of policies being made, at times, several thousands of miles away.  For us, the ability to hear what resources may be available to help us is essential to support our economic development strategies to attract new investment, create jobs and grow our tax base.  The meetings at the White House helped us put a face to the name and allowed us to meet those that can be of direct assistance.  I hope that these efforts will continue!”

Supervisor Greg Cox (San Diego County, CA): “As a longtime local official and county supervisor, I cannot remember a White House Administration that has really reached out to counties like this. They have given us high-level briefings and allowed us to talk with high-ranking officials on issues facing counties across the nation.  This type of outreach is unprecedented, much welcome, and greatly appreciated.”

Commissioner Debbie Bell (Fremont County, CO): “We were pleased to be able to join this event to discuss challenges we all share. We not only listened to presentations from Federal officials at the highest levels, but we had the opportunity to engage with them and ask questions relevant to Fremont County. We also received contact information for many of the folks in Intergovernmental Affairs, allowing us to contact them in the future for one-on-one discussions.”

Supervisor Burlin Matthews (Clay County, IA): “I was extremely pleased to be invited to the Regional State Leadership Days Initiative.  It allowed me to bring back to our County and share with department heads and elected officials the contact information for each of the Federal departments that presented to us.  This is invaluable information when we have road blocks that occur at the county level.”

County Board Member Chris Guy (Madison County, IL): “This was an excellent opportunity to discuss issues concerning local government at the White House. The State Leadership Conference included question and answer sessions with key officials from the Administration. We discussed the ongoing opioid crisis, economic development, improving our infrastructure, the need for Congress to approve the USMCA, and learned how the Administration can help all levels of government succeed by working together. This was a bipartisan conference, when you receive the invite – don’t take it for granted – attend! The contacts you make will help you better serve your constituents as well as provide an opportunity to maintain a direct line with the White House.”

Mayor Kyle Moore (Quincy, IL): “I have had the opportunity to attend two state leadership days at the White House. Each time I walk away with a better understanding of the vast resources that are available to my city…and I’ve been able to develop partnerships that help me get right to a decision maker when it is necessary. This is a must do for any elected official who has a Federal program or investment in their community.”

Commissioner Mark Heirbrandt (Hamilton County, IN): “The State Leadership Days Event was a great opportunity to meet with other local officials and White House personnel to share common issues that affect our communities.  It was refreshing to see the White House Administration reach out to local officials to actually get our input.  The information learned from each speaker and the interaction with other elected officials was invaluable.  This is my second opportunity to attend this event and I truly appreciate the opportunity.”

Commissioner Mike Brown (Johnson County, KS): “As a County Commissioner it is so helpful to have first-hand information regarding initiatives and specific lines of focus from the White House and the Trump Administration. To have a name and phone number for a contact at every federal agency allows me access to information for my constituents to better help them in their personal lives and their businesses. I am honored to be asked to join in on the Regional State Leadership Summits the White House Office has orchestrated and I look forward to the convention next summer to once again find out first-hand what I know will immediately help my state, county, community, district, city and, in the bigger picture, America.”

Judge Executive Dan Ison (Shelby County, KY): “I was highly honored to join with elected officials from Ohio, Michigan and Kentucky for State Leadership Day at the White House.  Listening to various Cabinet Secretaries and department heads on issues impacting us on the local level was invaluable to me.  I compliment them and the President of the United States, for the foresight to communicate with elected leaders.”

Magistrate Doug Gorman (Warren County, KY): “The more involved you are, the more things can happen. I took it as a great opportunity to go up there and share some of the concerns of Warren County, Kentucky. It was a great experience and a great opportunity. I would hope to do it again. I’d love to be involved in the future as well.”

County Councilman Lenny Pfeffer (Dorchester County, MD): “As a newly elected county councilman, I came into office thinking the White House had little to no care about my rural county with a population of only 32,000 citizens.  The invitation to attend, and my subsequent trip to the White House changed my opinion of how this administration truly cares about local government and our citizens. Thank you for this opportunity!”

County Treasurer Leigh Smith (Aroostook County, ME): “Meeting with President Trump, his staff, department heads and other senior officials really cemented this Administration’s commitment to our country – and more importantly at the grassroots level. Connecting with other officials across our region within the context of local elected offices proved to be tremendously valuable. President Trump and his Administration truly do want our nation to succeed and they understand the importance of the boots on the ground work that is being done. Their interest in our success at the local level translates to nationwide success and their support in that is absolutely resounding.”

Commissioner Stan Ponstein (Kent County, MI): “What a great experience. When the White House staff described this as a briefing, they were correct. Department officials keep their remarks brief and left plenty of time for questions and concerns from local elected officials present. They wanted to hear from us and listen to what is working and what isn’t. We left knowing we all have to find ways to make the Federal and local government work better for the people we represent.”

Commissioner Clint Tracy (Cape Girardeau County, MO): “Having been a commissioner for the past 9 years, this is first White House that has reached out to county government and started a meaningful dialogue about local issues.  I was honored to be invited to the White House for meetings with the Secretary of the Interior, representation from the EPA, Army Corps of Engineers, Homeland Security, Transportation, and FEMA to talk about disaster prevention, mitigation, and recovery as well as infrastructure, the national drug problem, and trade.  While this was just the first step, I look forward to a continuing local/ Federal dialogue about how to move America forward.”

City Councilman Garrett Christianson (Elk River, MN): “The 2019 State Leadership Day Conference with Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana local officials was a success. It really highlighted the continued commitment by the President and his Administration to build and foster relationships with local leaders in our region. Opening the lines of communication with all three levels of government for the common good of the people shows the dedication our President has to our country.”

Mayor Tim Cutts (Ackerman, MS): “I was very impressed with, not only the efforts to obtain feedback from the grassroots organizations within municipalities, but also from the efforts to broaden our education about ways the Federal government is working to help ‘Main Street America.’  The presence of top leaders like Secretary Purdue, Secretary Perry, DOT officials, economic development officials and every other speaker was invaluable. This Administration knows and appreciates the role of small towns as well as large cities. Even today, months later, we are still referencing those meetings.”

Mayor Dane Maxwell (Pascagoula, MS): “Since President Trump was sworn in, we have had an unprecedented relationship with the White House. For years, we’ve depended on our Federal delegation to share our needs and concerns to the White House and our President. Not under this Administration! THEY reach out to us!! We have had the opportunity to speak directly to White House Intergovernmental Affairs office very frequently regarding our needs here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They have also given us a list of contacts for all Federal agencies for us to contact should we need assistance. They have established a bridge between the local government and Federal government and they have gone above and beyond taking care of our needs!”

Commissioner Kevin Austin (Yadkin County, NC): “When I arrived at the White House, I had no idea what we were in for. I was blown away by how friendly and accessible this administration is. All the information shared was very inspiring, and the contact information we were give is priceless. Thank you to all for giving a voice to County Commissioners.”

Mayor Timothy McDonough (Hope, NJ): “As a mayor of a small rural community, I was very grateful to be part of the White House briefings. The impressive group of senior Administration officials were there to listen and get local input from leaders who walk the streets of their cities every day. President Trump and his Administration know how important it is to partner with local officials, and that is a breath of fresh air. I had a question regarding a HUD program and within two days of the briefing, I had a call from the Secretary’s staff. This is what government is all about.”

Freeholder Susan Soloway (Hunterdon County, NJ): “The leadership day conference was a valuable opportunity to hear firsthand from significant Administration officials, like Secretary Ross and Larry Kudlow, the director of the President’s National Economic Council, regarding public policy matters that are important to county government. The session was also an opportunity to network with other county officials from around the northeast, to share our common concerns and ideas. I was honored to represent Hunterdon County.”

Commissioner Jonathan Sena (Lea County, NM): “I appreciate President Trump, Vice-President Pence and the entire Administration for taking time to reach out to county commissioners like myself. We are grateful for their willingness to engage us on the issues that matter most to us, such as public safety, infrastructure, jobs, and immigration reform. I am grateful that President Trump and his amazing team care about the American people of all demographics, especially the Latino community of which I am part. I look forward to continuing to engage the Administration to better serve the people of Lea County, New Mexico.”

Commissioner Jay Block (Sandoval County, NM): “I’d like to thank the White House for inviting us to Washington to have substantive talks about issues facing our state(s). The knowledge the staff possessed about our local issues was nothing short of impressive. I heard from other elected officials in the Southwest who echoed those sentiments and they also very much appreciated the staff reaching out to us to solve critical and complicated issues.”

Commissioner Rex Steninger (Elko County, NV): “The Regional State Leadership Day was a fantastic opportunity to bring our concerns directly to the people running the departments that regulate affairs in our counties. No middlemen to water down our message and nowhere for the Administration officials to pass the buck. The Leadership Days are a great example of how President Trump values the opinions at the local level. The visit from Vice President Mike Pence was more proof of the pudding and a real treat. Thank you for the opportunity.”

Mayor Richard David (Binghamton, NY): “The White House State Leadership Day provides elected officials on the front lines of their community with an opportunity to connect with Federal officials at the highest levels. I appreciate the fact that the White House, and President specifically, wants to make sure there is no disconnect between the Federal and local level, and that key Federal decision makers are accessible and responsive to the needs of mayors such as myself. To me it shows the White House is committed to making the Federal resources we need available so we can do the job of effectively managing and improving America’s cities.”

Commissioner Julie Ehemann (Shelby County, OH): “I was pleased to be able to participate and hear directly from the agencies on how programs are being directed to help our local communities. From broadband to brownfields to addressing the opiates crisis, the Federal agencies have expressed a willingness to help local governments access the tools and funding necessary so that we can address local problems with local solutions.”

Commissioner Matt Old (Erie County, OH): “The message was crystal clear from the President’s chief economic adviser, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Education, EPA Administrator and many other top-level officials: ‘We are here to help you cut through the bureaucracy and get government moving.’ We all know that government is typically slow and expensive. The officials who we met with are all looking for ways to simplify the cumbersome regulations that are placed on businesses and local government.”

Commissioner Steve Shoffner (Erie County, OH): “To be able to have an open door like this and come straight to the Administration is tremendous.”

Commissioner Cindy Bobbitt (Grant County, OK): “Our government works best when we work together – Federal, state and local. We appreciate the ongoing dialogue. It gives us a seat at the table when it comes to decisions that impact our residents…Counties play a fundamental role in our intergovernmental system with significant policy, service delivery and administrative roles and responsibilities.  Federal policy decisions impact counties and the residents we serve…The good news is we have an open door here at the White House. We thank the Administration for their partnership and dialogue. We look forward to continuing important conversations about serving our joint constituencies and achieving our shared goals – healthy, safe and vibrant counties across America.”

Commissioner Colleen Roberts (Jackson County, OR): “What an outstanding honor to receive the recent invitation to the White House! Through my experiences while there, a bridge was built from the majestic beauty of southern Oregon to the grand splendor of our Nation’s Capital. This opportunity has created connections for our county to reach most any Federal agency, and stirred a hope that our local voices and concerns matter, not only mine but those of my many hard-working constituents. Thank you for events like State Leadership Days, which has re-energized our combined, dedicated and coordinated efforts that benefit the citizens we all serve. During my visit the genuine sincerity that greeted me at all levels, congressional staffers on up to President Donald Trump himself, fortified my confidence in our Republic, and the very Constitution this Country is built on!”

Mayor Dwan Walker (Aliquippa, PA): “We were able to meet and discuss with the top people in the Trump Administration from the Office of American Innovation, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Office of EPA, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of Energy. We were given key contact information for all of these departments. You just have to thank God for opportunities like this true story.”

County Councilwoman Jenny Honeycutt (Charleston County, SC): “I was honored to attend the White House Intergovernmental Affairs briefing. I was able to connect with federal agency representatives who could advance critical initiatives in my district.”

County Mayor Chad Graham (Bedford County, TN): “The President’s Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, spent over thirty minutes discussing issues that directly affect rural counties like community revitalization, disaster recovery, economic development and the opioid crisis which is impacting everyone in this country. It was especially interesting to hear how the President, his staff and the directors of this huge list of Federal agencies understand how these particular issues affect funding for counties like us. We were very encouraged by our conversation with Mr. Mulvaney…We fully intend to follow-up on the relationships we built for Bedford County on this trip.”

Commissioner Greg Vick (Bedford County, TN): “When the Secretary of Agricultural Sonny Perdue talks, people listen. Perdue, a former Governor of Georgia, told us he recognizes access to broadband as the single most important issue which can help level the playing field on competition with larger metropolitan areas. He also said the President was totally behind rural broadband, as evidenced by his support of the recently passed Ag Bill…I was very encouraged.”

County Mayor Glenn Jacobs (Knox County, TN): “During our meetings, we had the opportunity to speak with the White House Chief of Staff, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration. Providing local elected officials with the ability to build relationships with top federal officials is invaluable and I am very grateful to the Trump Administration for this particular initiative as well as all the work the Administration is doing to foster constructive working relationships with state and local officials.”

Commissioner Tangi Smith (Montgomery County, TN): “When I attended the regional conference at the White House this past August I truly wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I am absolutely delighted to say that everything and everyone that participated in the conference greatly exceeded my expectations. I was amazed to hear all the great things that this administration has done and is STILL doing. Everyone was so openly transparent and down to earth. They went out of their way to ensure that we were thoroughly accommodated and all our concerns involving our local government were met expeditiously. I would also like to compliment everyone on their levels of respect, accommodation and the sheer willingness to help our Women Veterans. I cannot wait to expand on the amazing working relationship that has been established with the conference.  I am sure the President and his Administration will continue to support us and keep its promises to its citizens.”

Judge Paul Lilly (Brown County, TX): “For the first time in a long time we now have an Administration that seems to genuinely be interested in the opinions and input of local officials. This is a fantastic program that has allowed us local officials to make solid and lasting contacts within the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Because of this program we have formed a strong working relationship with the White House that will endure.”

Commissioner Mark Beauchamp (Wichita County, TX): “It is unprecedented that an Administration would understand that for their policies and programs to be successfully implemented, they must work as a partner with leaders at every level of government.  It was truly an honor to be included as part of the discussion on how together we can keep America great from the steps of the county courthouse all the way to the White House.”

Commissioner Bob Stevenson (Davis County, UT): “Having served in the capacity of both Mayor and County Commissioner, this experience reflects the importance the Trump Administration puts on local government…The opportunity to interact with the Federal leaders strengthens the team attitude we need throughout all levels of government.  Thanks for the opportunity and look forward to another invite in the near future.”

Supervisor Janette Braverman (Ozaukee County, WI): “I am honored to have been invited to the Regional State Leadership Conference this year as well as attend a similar event hosted exclusively for WI Supervisors last year. It’s great to hear first-hand from our leaders about the initiatives occurring across our country. I appreciate our Administration’s thoughtfulness around staying connected to state and local officials, and for giving us direct access to the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for support as needed.”

Mayor Stephen Williams (Huntington, WV): “I found the leadership event to be informative and most important, productive. We were able to have a robust discussion with members of the Administration about issues that are important to our communities. It was particularly helpful to be with fellow elected officials from throughout the region. The opportunity for networking with our peers was a priceless opportunity.”

Commissioner Jim Willox (Converse County, WY) Vice President, WY County Commissioners Association: “I was really pleased that this event was not about the talking to us, but about listening to us.  All of the Administration officials spent most of their time taking questions and listing to our concerns.  I appreciated the minutiae that we were able to address.  One of the most valuable take a ways was the list of local government contacts in every department.  That is extremely helpful!”

Commissioner Robert Short (Converse County, WY): “Government by, for, and of the people, is exemplified in the approach this administration is executing. Inviting leaders closest to the people to engage with federal leaders is a path to ensuring the voice of the people is heard. Engaging local leaders in a meaningful way to build communication pathways and understanding, strengthens the bonds between the agencies and the people we all serve. We are grateful for the dedication the administration has shown and for the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to helping build a great country.”

Supervisor Ruby Brabo (King George County, VA): “The ability to have face to face engagement and discussions with the White House Administration through multiple venues is unprecedented.  This kind of dialogue between the Federal level of government and the local level of government has been a missing component that is necessary to solving many of our communities’ challenges.”