2017-10-25 / Front Page

Commissioners visit White House


Morgan County Commissioners Joel Tuttle and Bob Ford. Morgan County Commissioners Joel Tuttle and Bob Ford. Morgan County Commission President Joel Tuttle, Commissioner Bob Ford and County Administrator Jody McClintock joined more than three dozen West Virginia county leaders at the White House for a day of meetings with key administration officials, including Deputy Chief of Staff Rick Dearborn, Secretary of Labor R. Alexander Acosta, and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway.

They discussed how federal policies impact West Virginia counties and residents. Topics included the opioid epidemic, economic and workforce development, infrastructure, health care reform, local NASA programs, and transportation.

“We felt honored to be invited by the White House to discuss our county’s priorities,” said Tuttle. “Each speaker seemed genuinely interested in what was happening at the local level and their main objective seemed to focus on making sure we understood that they were readily available to each and every one of us and that we could reach out to them for assistance with any issues we may be facing in our respective counties.”

Commissioner Bob Ford discussed the inclusion of Broadband in WV's Small Cities Block Grant application with Holly Turner who was the Intergovernmental Affairs Representative from the Small Business Administration.

Commissioner Tuttle said he informed John Ullyot, Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Department of Veteran's Affairs, about the VA's inefficiencies pertaining to reimbursement for services rendered. Tuttle presented those concerns on behalf of the staff of Senior Life Services of Morgan County, of which he is Executive Director.

“There was much discussion from many commissioners, particularly those from Berkeley County about the opioid epidemic and how much it is costing counties to both fight it and try to prevent it. This discussion took place with the Acting Chief of Staff and General Counsel for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Lawrence "Chip" Muir,” Tuttle said.

Prior to the White House meeting, county leaders participated in a federal policy briefing at the National Association of Counties. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito joined the group to discuss the federal budget, tax reform, economic development and other legislative activity on Capitol Hill.

West Virginia commissioners were the sixth group of county officials to attend such an event. County leaders from Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Missouri were welcomed to the White House earlier this year.

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