Associations for Cities, Counties Launch Campaigns for Increased COVID-19 Support

Jerry Ashworth
May 13, 2020 at 14:53:12 ET
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Let’s hear it for local governments! Associations representing cities and counties recently unveiled new campaigns promoting their efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for more federal support.

On April 29, the National Association of Counties (NACO) launched its “We Are Counties” social media campaign. The initiative notes that 3.6 million county employees — including emergency medical technicians, nurses, doctors and support personnel at county hospitals, law enforcement officials, firefighters, public health experts, human services professionals, coroners and medical examiners, and other county government employees — “are on the front lines of the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic” to save lives and serve communities. The campaign aims to “put a face on front-line workers”, while calling on federal decisionmakers to provide support for these public servants.

NACO explained that counties are facing at least a $144 billion budget impact as a result of skyrocketing costs and plummeting revenues, and are seeking federal funding for their vast health, safety and economic recovery responsibilities, many of which are mandated by states and the federal government.

“We have been strongly advocating for direct and flexible federal funding for county responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and our lost revenue,” said NACO President Mary Ann Borgeson, a Douglas County, Neb. commissioner. “These are more than just numbers in a spreadsheet. We are talking about vital services our residents need and the people who deliver them day in and day out.” The We Are Counties website features pictures and videos of county workers across the country, and provides other related resources.

One week later, the National League of Cities (NLC) promoted its own campaign, dubbed “Cities are Essential.” NLC’s initiative also seeks to secure economic relief for the communities responding to COVID-19, specifically requesting $500 billion in direct federal aid to cities over the next two years. The Cities are Essential website contains information about specific actions cities can take to support increased funding and other related tools and resources.

“Cities are essential to the fabric of this nation, to the pandemic response effort, and to the 200 million residents we provide essential services for,” said Clarence Anthony, chief executive officer and executive director of the National League of Cities. “The federal government must act now. It’s been almost two months since the first bill providing Coronavirus relief was passed by Congress, and most communities haven’t received a cent in aid.”

Local governments play an important role in the fight against COVID-19. We support their efforts.

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