Presentation on White House visit given

Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead relates details of a recent conference he attended at the White House to the Board of Supervisors Monday afternoon at the County Office Building in Johnstown. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead gave a presentation on a recent White House conference he attended to the Board of Supervisors Monday at the County Office Building.

“It was very worthwhile,” Stead said. “It was very interesting.”

The Fulton County official attended a federal White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs’ “leaders briefing” Aug. 23 for officials from New York state and New Jersey. He said the majority of New York’s counties were represented at the roughly four-hour event, in which 10 briefings on various topics were given to local officials from the two states.

Stead said Douglas Hoelscher, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs, welcomed the group. He said President Donald Trump is trying to “reach past” higher levels of government and talk to county leaders about what they need from the federal government, Stead said.

“Often times, we’re not connected to the federal level,” Stead said.

He said Hoelscher discussed the nation’s opioid epidemic, deregulation, expanding market access for U.S. manufacturing and agriculture, and the National Defense Authorization Act.

Kellyanne Conway, assistant to the president and senior counselor, spoke further on the opioid crisis, Stead said.

“Her comments were exclusively about the federal government’s efforts to curtail opioid addiction,” he said. “They’re doing it on three fronts.”

That three-way approach consists of prevention and education, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement and interdiction.

Stead said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Intergovernmental & External Affairs Doug Little related how the federal government is concentrating on how to make fossil fuels cleaner.

Other speakers at the White House conference included Andrew Crimber of the Office of Domestic Policy Council, who Stead said discussed “new rules and procedures” involving federal veteran offices. He said the government is better monitoring U.S. Office of Veteran Affairs officials and their performances.

Stead said Special Assistant to the President Ja’Ron Smith of the Office of Legislative Affairs spoke about one of Trump’s priorities – urban revitalization. He said companies that invest receive tax benefits, reducing their Capital Gains Tax through investing in special Opportunity Zones.

Stewart Young, deputy assistant trade representative for intergovernmental public engagement, spoke of breaking down trade barriers and tariffs.

“I thought her presentation was particularly interesting,” Stead said.

Additional speakers included: Corey Price, acting deputy associate director of the U.S. Office of Customs and Immigration Enforcement; U.S. Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Bill Northey; Frank Brogan, assistant secretary of elementary and secondary education; and Special Assistant to the President William Crozer.

Stead praised the federal government’s efforts to inform local governments on national issues.

“I thought it was a pretty interesting attempt to get local government included,” he said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

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