In early March, NACCED members came to Washington, DC for NACCED’s annual Legislative Meeting, in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo) Legislative Meeting. Over the course of four days, attendees received policy and federal budget updates from White House and partner staff; made visits to Congressional offices to advocate for CDBG and HOME; held Board and Committee meetings; presented policy resolutions to NACo’s Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee; and heard directly from HUD career staff on the status of program funding and regulatory updates. At the end of the week, attendees left Washington with a wealth of knowledge on federal level policy to take back to their communities, as well as strengthened relationships with other NACCED members and partners at HUD and NACo. See below a recap of meeting highlights.
Thursday, February 28
The first meeting day kicked off at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill, with a federal policy and HUD budget update from Doug Rice, a Senior Policy Analyst for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Doug gave attendees an overview of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget and appropriations process with specific focus on the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations spending bill. Doug shared his predictions on the FY2020 budget, including that on the President’s proposed budget, CDBG will most likely be zeroed out as in prior years; however, Congress will most likely fund the program at recent levels. He also noted that GSE (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac) reform may be on the Congressional agenda. View Doug's presentation.
Doug’s comments were followed by a presentation from NACCED Executive Director Laura DeMaria and NACCED Vice President Mary Keating (DuPage County, IL) on tips and best practices for making a successful visit to a Congressional office. NACCED joins the CDBG and HOME coalitions in requesting $3.8 and $1.5 billion for CDBG and HOME, respectively.
The last speaker of the day was Ben Hobbs, Special Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy and the White House Domestic Policy Council’s lead on Opportunity Zones. Ben gave a brief history of the genesis of Opportunity Zones, which continue to be a priority for the Trump Administration and an important new feature in the urban revitalization landscape. Ben shared that, in the next few days, the second round of regulations will head from the US Department of Treasury, to the White House, to the Federal Register. The White House and Treasury will be seeking comments. Ultimately, the two sets of rules will be condensed into one, and private investors will be able to act on this final guidance. Further, with the recent Executive Order on Opportunity Zones, HUD Secretary Ben Carson Chairs the inter-agency OZ Council, giving HUD a lead on implementation of OZs in the coming months. Hobbs also shared that he is working on a one-stop-shop Opportunity Zones website with information geared toward investors, community leaders and entrepreneurs. Cross-agency members of the Opportunity Zones Council will also be making visits into communities on the ground.
In the afternoon, attendees had the opportunity to visit with key Congressional offices, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL); newly-elected Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT), the former mayor of Salt Lake County; and Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) to share information about the housing and community development projects in their communities. The evening ended with a networking event on the Hill for attendees to reflect on the information learned and experience gained while advocating for their programs.
Friday, March 1
On Friday, attendees gathered at the Washington Hilton, the site of NACo’s Legislative Conference, to convene Committees and hold the Board of Directors meeting. All of NACCED’s committees met: Housing, Education, Membership, Community Development, Economic Development, and Resolutions. During the Housing Committee meeting, New York City Dept. of Housing Preservation and Development VP of Government Affairs Elizabeth Strojan joined to give an overview of the LIHTC program and answer questions from members. Additional committee action items included brainstorming educational topics for this year’s NACCED Annual Educational Conference and Training; discussing upcoming HOME and related training provided to members by NACCED and partners; adopted NACCED’s 2019 Policy Priorities; and discussion and approval of proposed resolutions on HUD appropriations and guidance on Opportunity Zones. Each year, NACCED submits resolutions to the NACo Community, Economic and Workforce Development Steering Committee for adoption.
Additionally, attendees heard program and policy updates from HUD career staff, including Claudette Fernandez, Director, HUD’s Office of Block Grant Assistance; Steve Johnson, Director, Entitlement Communities Division; and Peter Huber, Deputy Director of HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs.
View Peter Huber's presentation
View Steve Johnson's presentation
In the evening, NACCED held its Board and Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs dinner in DuPont Circle, a great way to reconnect with attendees ahead of NACo’s Legislative Meeting.
Saturday, March 2 & Sunday, March 3
NACCED is a proud NACo affiliate and holds a seat on NACo’s Community, Economic and Workforce Development (CEWD) Steering Committee. On Saturday, NACCED attendees joined the subcommittee meeting to discuss their sponsored resolution on Opportunity Zones. On Sunday, attendees watched the Large Urban County Caucus meeting, which featured speakers including Commissioners from across the country, and experts from the White House and private sector and HUD, discussing issues like homelessness and healthcare access.
Be sure to check out all the photos from this year’s meeting, and we hope you will join us for next year’s Legislative Conference, February 27-March 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.