Commissioners attend White House conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, the Miami County Commissioners traveled to the nation’s capital for a chance to meet with White House officials.

On Tuesday, county commissioners from all over the state of Ohio attended an event at the White House to discuss issues affecting Ohio communities and to develop relationships with federal officials.

“It was really, really good,” Commissioner Jack Evans said. “I think we learned some things that will be advantageous to us, in terms of contacts.”

The day-long event included a tour and meetings with members of the administration, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway. Vice President Mike Pence opened the meeting; President Donald Trump, on a visit to Texas following Hurricane Harvey, was not in attendance.

“In my 22 years as a county elected official, it’s the first time I’ve ever been invited to hear a presidential administration’s views. They wanted to inform us about what was happening, what they were doing, and wanted input from us about what’s important to our counties,” Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien said.

The conference touched on topics that affect Ohioans, like veterans affairs, infrastructure, small businesses and the opioid crisis, O’Brien said.

The commissioners agreed that the event was beneficial, especially in making contacts with federal agencies and departments.

“We got to connect with a lot of people and different departments,” Commissioner Greg Simmons said. “The connection was real, it wasn’t just lip service. They want to hear from us and I feel like we made a lot of inroads that will pay off for the county.”

Simmons said he feels the county now has people to turn to at the federal level when dealing with problems.

“They obviously said we should continue to be in contact with our state and federal legislators, but now we have someone to contact at the White House to cut through some of the red tape when we’ve got problems,” Evans said.

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O’Brien: “The connection was real … (not) just lip service”

By Cecilia Fox

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