Over 30 county officials from the State of Washington joined nearly 2,000 other county leaders from across the country at the National Association of Counties’ (NACo) 2020 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. from February 29 – March 4.

Highlighting the conference was President Trump’s 45-minute address to conference attendees as he spoke of his commitment to a strong relationship between the federal and local governments. It was the first appearance by a sitting U.S. President at a NACo conference in 24 years. President Trump shared:

My administration will always be your friend, your partner, your ally, and resource as you work to deliver an amazing future, for your counties, and for your communities, and for the country itself.”

Numerous sessions and presentations focused on important topics that link federal funding and policy with county operations, including:

  • NACo Steering Committee and Caucus Meetings
  • Cyber Security Planning/Recovery and Technology Innovation
  • Early Childhood Programs
  • Homelessness Strategies
  • County Workforce Issues
  • Elections
  • Permitting and Regulation
  • Recycling
  • Immigration
  • Census
  • Emergency Management and FEMA
  • Coronavirus and Public health

During the NACo Health Steering Committee and the NACo Board of Directors’ meeting, WSAC worked with Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young to ensure NACo approved an emergency resolution and policy statement stating that the

National Association of Counties (NACo) urges Congress to pass a Fiscal Year 2020 supplemental appropriation to expand and strengthen global, federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local capacity and coordination to adequately respond to this infectious disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Many speakers throughout the conference addressed the need for a coordinated federal, state, and local response to COVID-19.

Congressional Meetings

WSAC President Rob Gelder, WSAC 1st Vice President Michael Largent, and other WSAC and county elected officials met with members and staff of Washington State’s Congressional Delegation to review WSAC’s Federal Priorities and other issues important to Washington’s 39 counties. Topics covered included:

  • An update on county response to COVID-19
  • Promoting county infrastructure priorities in a comprehensive infrastructure package
  • Supporting the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and Secure Rural Schools (SRS) programs
  • Boosting broadband deployment and accessibility while preserving local zoning authority
  • Asking for support on legislation to eliminate the Medicaid Inmate Exclusion


A year ago, NACo launched the “TestIT” app that leverages a broadband sampling tool designed to collect data and information about broadband speeds across the country. With the press of a single button, users can test their broadband speed from anywhere and compare their internet speeds to the national average and minimum standards established by the Federal Communications System.

TestIT’s data has revealed that 65 percent of counties experience the internet at below industry-reported levels and that over-reporting disproportionately impacted rural counties. Seventy-eight percent of counties (2,391 total) of various sizes provided samples from across the country. View the complete report here.

NACo Steering Committees

Our county elected and appointed members from Washington State also participated in a myriad of NACo Steering Committees, task forces, caucuses, and work-groups during the NACo conference.  For more information on participating in a NACo Steering Committee or attending an upcoming NACo conference, please visit NACo.org.