Supervisor Monthly Message ~ District 5 ~ September 2022

Tulare County Coalitions? 

For this monthly message, I wanted to share a little bit about county governance and how we network with other counties through associations.  

As individual district supervisors, we oversee about 1/5 of the of the county. This includes understanding the geography, culture, and people who reside in each of our districts. When we come together as the Board of Supervisors, we not only make decisions that affect the whole county, but each of us has our own area of expertise in representing our region within and without. 

The Board of Supervisors is a proud member of the Tulare County Association of Governments (TCAG), and that involves all five supervisors and a mayor, or a city council member, from each of the eight incorporated cities of Tulare County.  TCAG comes together on a monthly basis and discuses solutions to regional issues such as transportation, air quality, and pedestrian access. We can better handle these issues when we are all together in one room, in fact that is the way that I was introduced to county government, being an at large member of TCAG. 

All of the counties in California have these local coalitions of city and county governments. However, for the eight Central California counties, their regional associations decided to come together to form the San Joaquin Valley Regional Policy Council (SJVRPC). Over the past two years, I have had the privileged representing Tulare County and SJVRPC. As you can imagine instead of just an individual supervisor, a county, or a city, we have 8 California Counties in a coalition that can go to Washington or Sacramento to lobby our specific and unique needs. There is one item that has been the agenda for quite a while and that is to get Highway 99 expanded to all six lanes. There have been stretches of miles that effect all of the SJVRPC counties that haven't been upgrade to account for additional traffic flow. Thankfully, the state is now starting address the issue thanks to the advocacy efforts of the SJVRPC.

We also belong to an organization called the Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC) . RCRC is comprised of 39 mostly rural counties, and when we come together, you can imagine we're able to put all of our voices together and really get into some in-depth policy discussion, present particular policies to the state and the federal governments and create equitable policies that benefits each of the 39 counties. I’m currently the Vice-chair of the of the Water and Natural Resources Committee for RCRC and I'm also on the drought Ad Hoc Committee. 

Another association that the county participates with, is the California State Association of Counties. This is a group of all 58 California counties, some of our board members are actually voting members of CSAC. I happen to serve on two committees in CSAC and so now that's an even stronger voice especially whenever we're having lobbying efforts for the state of California. We are also getting more involved in an organization called the National Association of Counties (NACO). This year, I was appointed as the Vice-chair of the Public Lands Steering Committee. NACO has the participation of every county in the United States, so whenever that group has an opinion, and would like to advocate, you would have the strength of every county behind that particular position. In conclusion, we're really excited as a board to be involved in all of these organizations so that we can better serve you on every level of government. 

I look forward to the future partnerships with theses organizations as they become a active part of Tulare County governance.  

Dennis Townsend 
District 5 Supervisor