The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners (NCACC) hosted County Assembly Day in Raleigh on May 8, with Granville County Commissioners Zelodis Jay (Chairman), Tim Karan and Sue Hinman, as well as County Manager Michael Felts and Emergency Services Director Doug Logan, in attendance. This annual meeting offers opportunities for county commissioners and attending county officials to hear from state leaders and discuss issues that impact their communities.
This year’s event focused on two top legislative priorities for counties – expanding broadband access and investing in public school facilities. Following the morning program, commissioners visited legislative offices to advocate on behalf of their counties. The Granville County delegation had meetings with Representative Larry Yarborough and Terry Garrison, as well as with Senator Mike Woodard.
“Our state representatives understand the issues we face on a county level,” explained County Commissioner Tim Karan, District 6. “Through the partnerships we have developed between the NCACC and our legislators, we are able to work together to address our broadband needs, as well as the needs of Granville County Public Schools. The work that the General Assembly is doing now can help remove the barriers we face here at home, so that we can move forward and make the improvements we need to make.”
Anthony Copeland, Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Commerce, delivered keynote remarks at the assembly, discussing the importance of broadband access and its relation to economic development.
“Broadband is something we need to address,” Copeland said. “Everything we do is technologically integrated and communities have to be prepared. It may be expensive, but we have to have it to compete. We have got to deliver it.”
Other speakers included Senator Brent Jackson and Representative David Lewis of the North Carolina General Assembly, who commended the NCACC for its constructive engagement with the General Assembly and stakeholders to identify solutions that will close gaps in internet access throughout the state. Rep. Lewis also referred to NCACC’s longstanding goal to address school facility needs. “Like broadband, one area of universal agreement that the General Assembly holds is that we have to do whatever we can to make our schools safer,” Lewis said.
Granville County Board of Commissioners Chairman Zelodis Jay, District 1, agrees. “Broadband impacts all 100 counties in the state,” Chairman Jay said, “and our schools also have many needs that are not being met. As county commissioners, it is our job to advocate for our residents and our communities. We are working with our legislators to find solutions to improve broadband issues in our rural areas and to make sure our schools get what they need to teach our children and keep them safe. It is our hope that the state will, in turn, give us some relief to help meet these needs.”
The 2019 County Assembly Day was held at several locations in Raleigh which included the NC Museum of History, the State Capitol Grounds and the NC Legislative Complex. Almost 200 county representatives were in attendance to share information and to advocate for their respective counties. To learn more about the NCACC and County Assembly Day, visit www.ncacc.org/168/County-Assembly-Day.