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Lehrke, Weik attend national counties conference

Washington County Board Chair Autumn Lehrke and Commissioner Lisa Weik represented the county during the National Association of Counties’ 2014 legislative conference March 1-5 in Washington, D.C. 

More than 1,500 county officials from across the country advocated county governments’ role in local communities, including through public infrastructure, transportation and economic development; creating and sustaining a skilled workforce; ensuring public health and public safety; and implementing federal, state and local programs in a cost-effective manner.

Lehrke serves on several committees including the Veterans and Military Services Committee. During the last couple years, the Veterans and Military Services Committee has focused on reducing lag time for veterans to access benefits and awarding credentials for skills earned while serving. This year, the committee is focusing on reintegration efforts of service members.

“Imagine being in a line of 20 people and five of them decide to serve in the military,” Lehrke said in a statement. “Those five people leave their family, career, education, and friends behind to serve our country. Now fast forward to when they are discharged back into civilian world. Where do they go back in the line? Do they go into the front of the line, the back of the line, or back in the same spot where they came out of the line? The answer is, we put them back in line where they want to be. The committee’s focus this year is to get veterans the tools they need to be integrated back into society.”

Weik focused on transportation issues, including helping to make annual recommendations on infrastructure.

The focus of this year’s conference was transportation. Association members urged Congress to pass a multi-year surface transportation bill providing long-term funding certainty for transportation infrastructure. A two-year surface transportation bill that supports many county surface transportation priorities expires in September.