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Special Districts Association of Oregon, NSDC Advance Federal Priorities for Special Districts in Series of Congressional Meetings

December 2, 2021

Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) joined the National Special Districts Coalition (NSDC) in virtually meeting with key Congressional stakeholders including the offices of Senators Wyden and Merkley, Representative McCarthy, and Speaker Pelosi.

As a member of the Coalition, SDAO provided important background on the wide-ranging services special districts provide constituents in the more than 30,000 communities they serve across the country, including 950 special districts in Oregon. These meetings also advanced the NSDC’s federal priorities as it will continue to serve as a resource in Congress for current and future policy matters that impact local governments.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to engage with a number of key Congressional stakeholders and staff to discuss the critical infrastructure and services special districts provide their constituents,” said Cole Karr, NSDC Federal Advocacy Coordinator. “These are among the first of many conversations special districts leaders will have as we develop partnerships with our federal representatives. I deeply appreciate these legislative offices’ attention and consideration of districts’ federal concerns and look forward to further collaboration with these representatives, senators, and others on the Hill.”

“It was an honor to speak with Members of Congress and their staff about the issues facing special districts in their home states and across the country,” said Kristi More, TFG Managing Partner for Strategic Development. “These meetings represent an important step in establishing strong relationships with congressional leaders and advancing NSDC’s federal priorities.”

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to sit down with Members of Congress and their staff,” said Joe Krahn, President and Managing Partner of Paragon Government Relations. “Not only can the federal government secure key support for initiatives important to special districts, but NSDC members can offer Members of Congress insight into their constituents’ needs and priorities. These conversations were an important introduction.”

All in all, NSDC members advocated for equitable access to critical programs available to other units of local governments. Currently, far too many districts face barriers to access American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to respond to the public health and economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. NSDC members pushed to establish a formal definition for “special district” in federal law to ensure districts have clear access to applicable federal programs.

Additionally, the Coalition championed greater federal support for climate resiliency, disaster preparedness, infrastructure investments and finance tools, and services for disadvantaged communities.

The National Special Districts Coalition is the only national organization representing and advocating for all special districts at a national level. Organized in 2018, the Coalition consists of special districts’ stakeholders providing services for and representing special districts across the country. Members share resources, best practices and openly network to identify solutions to common problems for special districts across state lines. The Coalition’s mission includes federal advocacy to ensure special districts receive equitable access to critical programs available to local governments.