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SDAO Meets Congress, Advocates for National Special District Priorities 

The nation’s special district stakeholders descended on Washington last week for the 2023 National Special Districts Coalition (NSDC) “Special Districts on the Hill” to press for support on top Coalition priorities. 

Leaders and stakeholders from across Coalition states met with 36 offices of the U.S. House and Senate to promote awareness of special districts as part of the country’s local government landscape. In doing so, the group of 12 advocated for the establishment of a “special district” definition in federal law and broader inclusion in federally-funded local government programs. NSDC also focused on ongoing efforts to address community gaps in adequate water infrastructure for firefighting. 

SDAO Executive Director Frank Stratton and SDAO Director of Advisory Services David Ulbricht had the opportunity to meet with members of Oregon’s congressional delegation including Representative Val Hoyle and the legislative staff of Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici.  All of the meetings were very productive, and our elected officials expressed strong support for Oregon’s special districts. 

NSDC’s advocates met with members of their state Congressional delegations to represent and share more about the services special districts provide to their constituents and frame the importance of special districts’ access to federally-funded programs for local government – and the hardship that stems from inability to tap into funding opportunities. Also highlighted were the steps special districts providing fire protection and water services are taking to harden fire suppression infrastructure in their communities and the necessity for a federal funding source to assist with this critical need. 

The Coalition thanks congressional staff for their active engagement with Coalition stakeholders, and thank Representatives John Duarte, R-Calif.; Val Hoyle, D-Ore.; Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla.; Kevin Kiley, R-Calif.; Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif.; Doug Lamborn, R-Colo.; and Brittany Pettersen, D-Colo., for meeting with Coalition Members. The Coalition was also able to meet with Tahoe Water for Fire Suppression Coalition representatives, who were also in Washington advocating on water infrastructure for firefighting funding.  

The April fly-in was the second for NSDC, having made its initial introductions on Capitol Hill in September 2022. The Ferguson Group and Paragon Government Relations coordinated the event. 

For more information on how to get involved with NSDC’s federal advocacy, contact Cole Arreola-Karr, at