Gallia commissioner to Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Gallia Commissioner David Smith is visiting the nation’s capital along with other area county commissioners as part of efforts for local Ohio governments to establish connections with the federal government.

“We’re here to develop relationships,” said Smith. “You never know when you need a helping hand.”

Smith said the Gallia Commissioners, as part of the National Association of Counties, were invited to the event. The commissioner said the Trump Administration has held two other similar events with commissioners from Florida and Pennsylvania. Commissioners are slated to meet with the US Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Smith said some of his prime concerns speaking with federal officials are over the county’s ongoing sewer line rehabilitation project as roughly 50 percent of the funding for the project comes from the Department of Agriculture Rural Development Ben Carson The ongoing opioid epidemic will be another topic of concern.

“The problem exists in a lot of different places,” said Smith. “However, we’re certainly one of the worst and always looking to get it under control.”

The Community Development Block grant will also likely be a topic of conversation, given the opportunity, said Smith.

“Traditionally that batch of money allows us to fund projects throughout (Gallia) that we would otherwise not be able to,” said Smith.

CDBG money has often been used to fund township road paving projects and other issues.

As the Trump Administration has said it would be providing zero dollars for the Appalachian Regional Commission, Smith said that was an area of concern for small communities like Gallia County. The ARC was founded as a state and federal partnership which aims to create and maintain economic development and improved quality of life issues in the Appalachian region.

“We’ve spoken with Congressman Bill Johnson and he is aware of our feelings,” said Smith. “We believe he is on the same page and would like to see that continue with the budget. If I have the chance to address that during our meetings, (with the White House staff) I’ll certainly be doing that.”

On Monday, commissioners were welcomed with a reception before getting to business at the White House Tuesday with a briefing and breakfast.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.

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Gallia Commissioner David Smith has served as a president and vice-president with the Gallia Board of County Commissioners. Commissioner David Smith has served as a president and vice-president with the Gallia Board of County Commissioners. Dean Wright | Daily Tribune
Smith visits the White House

By Dean Wright