April 18, 2011

National County Government Month

[Page: S2499]  GPO's PDF 

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Mr. COONS. Mr. President, I rise to recognize the contributions made each day by our Nation's 3,068 county governments and the men and women who serve in county government. They are tireless public servants whose daily efforts to ensure that local government works for all Americans are honored during National County Government Month, which takes place each April.

As a former county executive for New Castle County, DE, I know that county governments are responsible for providing essential services important to our communities. New Castle County provides critical services in public safety, land use, parks and libraries, sewers, and economic development. Many other counties provide a broad range of services, such as maintaining roads, bridges, and water systems, and operating airports and other transit, and delivering critical health care services. Counties provide law enforcement, courtroom, and jail services, schools, and numerous social services for children, seniors and families, and often serve as the first lines of defense for emergency response and preparedness.

Since 1991, the National Association of Counties, or NACo, has encouraged counties across America to highlight their programs and services in order to raise awareness of the important role county governments play in our national life. National County Government Month is a great opportunity to recognize this.

The National County Government Month theme for 2011 is ``Serving Our Veterans, Armed Forces, and Their Families.'' NACo president Glen Whitley, county judge for Tarrant County, TX, is urging all counties to honor and to thank their residents who have served or are currently serving our Nation in the military. In addition, Judge Whitley is urging counties to showcase their many important services to America's veterans, military serv ice mem bers, and their families, such as those relating to physical and mental health, housing, employment, and the justice system.

In New Castle County, as in many counties across the country, we felt the impact of the call to duty on serv ice mem bers and their families, as county employees many in our public safety community deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with units of the Reserve and National Guard. I am pleased to join Judge Whitley and county officials across the country in honoring serv ice mem bers and veterans and highlighting the important services county governments provide.

National County Government Month also provides the Senate with an opportunity to acknowledge that county governments with the help of the National Association of Counties are working together to restore the partnership among all levels of government to serve communities across America better. We in the Senate share our constituents with county government officials and face common challenges. It is incumbent upon us to recognize the men and women who work tirelessly within local governments and provide essential services directly to our constituents. They deserve our sincerest gratitude.

I encourage all of my colleagues and all Americans to celebrate April as National County Government Month with their home counties and to recognize the important role county governments play in their communities and the critical services they provide.

(Senate - April 14, 2011)

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