County commissioners come to Raleigh for 2017 County Assembly Day

The N.C. Association of County Commissioners organizes the event for local officials to network with state lawmakers and speak to local issues

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Fred McClure

RALEIGH — As former U.S. House Speaker Tip O’Neill would say, “All politics is local.” That was especially true last Wednesday at the N.C. General Assembly as the N.C. Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) descended upon Raleigh for their 2017 County Assembly day. “Make sure that you build those relationships and when you get back home follow them up,” NCACC President Fred McClure (Davidson) advised the group of commissioners before they headed to the legislature.The local officials heard from Gov. Roy Cooper on his belief in the importance of local governance.”County government is where it happens,” said Cooper. “You’re the hub. You’re the people that have to make decisions about what happens to your area. One thing I know, is that local decisions can be best made on the local level.”The governor reiterated his legislative priorities of education, health, and more money in citizens’ pockets, and related how he thought improvement in areas such as broadband access and better local infrastructure can help counties and the state achieve its goals. Cooper also addressed the partisan nature of county politics, just like state politics, and encouraged the local officials to strive for common ground.”It’s important for Republican and Democrat county commissioners, as well as a Democratic governor with a Republican legislature, for the first question to be, ‘Where do we agree?'” said Cooper. “Where can we find consensus to go forward? That’s what we all should be asking.”The commissioners were also treated to remarks by N.C. House Majority Leader Rep. John Bell (R-Wayne), who related to the significance of local issues and the precarious balancing act between rural and urban areas of the state.”Whether you live in downtown Raleigh, downtown Charlotte or in Pink Hill, N.C., we all have to work together. Republican, Democrat, unaffiliated — we all have to work together to do what’s best for the citizens of the state.”Bell echoed the governor in pointing to infrastructure, education and broadband access as areas both sides of the aisle can work together to improve. Open lines of communications between locals and the state, according to Bell, is where it starts.”If we’re not working with our county commissioners, if we’re not working with our school board, we can’t address all their concerns,” asserted Bell.