County Leaders from Across the Country to Convene in DeKalb

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Andrew Cauthen Quinn Hudson
Communications Manager Chief Communications Officer
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November 26, 2021

County Leaders from Across the Country to Convene in DeKalb

DECATUR, Ga. –The National Association of Counties (NACo) next week will host a series of meetings in DeKalb County, the home county of NACo President Larry Johnson, a DeKalb County commissioner. The events are expected to attract over 200 county officials from across the country.

NACo will hold its annual Large Urban County Caucus (LUCC) Symposium Dec. 1-3. It will focus on pressing issues facing urban counties, those with populations greater than 500,000. The symposium’s theme is “Urban Counties THRIVE,” part of President Johnson’s year-long effort to position counties to emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.

Among the topics county leaders will examine are federal COVID-19 recovery aid; infant mortality; homelessness; community engagement; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

“After nearly two years on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, we are honored to host counties leaders here in DeKalb County,” said President Johnson. “We are proud to showcase our county, and we look forward to learning from one another’s successes and challenges as we help all our counties thrive.”

Prior to the symposium, NACo’s Prenatal-to-Three County Leaders Academy will take place, examining policies to strengthen services for young children and their families. Additionally, NACo’s Board of Directors will meet Dec. 3-4.

As part of the meetings, county leaders will participate in mobile tours highlighting success stories from the Atlanta metro area. All sessions, excluding mobile tours, will take place at Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory, 130 Clairemont Ave., Decatur, GA 30030.

Members of the media interested in covering the event should contact Paul Guequierre at

Click here to view the full agenda. 

Conference highlights include:

Featured General Session Speakers:

Thursday, December 2
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. ET
Courtyard by Marriott Atlanta Decatur Downtown/Emory

  • Larry Johnson, commissioner, DeKalb County, Ga., and NACo President
  • John O’Grady, commissioner, Franklin County, Ohio and chair, NACo Large Urban County Caucus
  • Michael L. Thurmond, CEO, DeKalb County, Ga.

Mobile Tours:

CHRIS 180 (Wednesday, December 1, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET). Supported by DeKalb County and other partners, Atlanta nonprofit CHRIS 180 offers extensive wraparound services to children, youth, young adults and families, including counseling, skill-building, trauma-informed care, foster homes, adoptions, assistance to those suffering or recovering from substance use disorders, and safe homes for those experiencing homelessness.

New Black Wall Street Market (Wednesday, December 1, 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET). With over 100 shops and restaurants, the New Black Wall Street Market is a destination for family fun, entertainment, retail, gourmet grocery shopping and fine dining. As an extension of the Allen Entrepreneurial Institute, the New Black Wall Street Market shares its mission: to increase the size and number of minority and women-owned businesses throughout the United States and globally.

The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (Friday, December 3, 9 – 11:30 a.m. ET). The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm (MAUF) works to reduce barriers to healthy living by promoting agriculture to eliminate food insecurity and by offering training in sustainable, high-quality, low-cost farming and gardening.

Other timely programming includes:

Prenatal-to-Three County Leaders Academy (Tuesday, November 30 – Wednesday, December 1). The Prenatal-to-Three County Leaders Academy is a cohort of elected and appointed county leaders pursuing policies to expand and improve services for young children and their families. Sessions include:

  • Federal Relief Supporting Families with Young Children from Prenatal to Age Three: Opportunities and Challenges During COVID-19
  • Equitable Recovery for Child Care Post-COVID
  • Coordinating Services for Children and Families
  • Building Public Will for Prenatal-to-Three Investments

Reducing Infant Mortality Rates Through County-Based Strategies (Thursday December 2, 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. ET). Preterm birth and low birth weight are common causes of infant mortality in the United States. While there is no definitive approach for preventing these causes, counties can play a major role in reducing infant mortality rates through systemic change and local strategies. Mothers’ health, environment and experiences affect how infants develop prenatally through their infancy. This session focuses on strategies urban counties can deploy to improve outcomes for mothers and infants.

How Can Local Leaders Successfully Invest Fiscal Recovery Funds (Thursday December 2, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m. ET). In March, American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law, which established the $350 billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The legislation provided $61.5 billion in direct, flexible funding to counties of all sizes. Now that the U.S. Treasury has begun administering the dollars, county leaders are deciding how to best invest these critical dollars responsibly and equitably to ensure the recovery of both our residents, communities and national economy. This session will examine eligible uses of Recovery Funds and steps local leaders can take when developing and implementing plans.

Fits and Starts: Successes, Challenges and Opportunities of County Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Efforts (Thursday December 2, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. ET). Counties have been considering responses to the social unrest evident throughout 2020 and 2021, as well as the inequities exposed and emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Several counties have established diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) offices, but many others are still exploring the best way to proceed. Hear from counties about the quick wins and the hard truths of DEI efforts, and from experienced leaders on ways to move toward a more diverse, equitable and inclusive governance.

Opportunities and Innovative Solutions for Preventing Homelessness (Thursday December 2, 2:00 – 3:15 p.m. ET). On any given night, more than 580,000 people in America experience homelessness, with millions more on the cusp. The pandemic has only exacerbated the homelessness and housing affordability crisis. Counties invest significantly in housing and community development and play an important role in addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness. Hear from national and county experts on key resources and solutions for counties to combat homelessness and housing instability.


The National Association of Counties (NACo) strengthens America’s counties, including nearly 40,000 county elected officials and 3.6 million county employees. Founded in 1935, NACo unites county officials to advocate for county government priorities in federal policymaking; promote exemplary county policies and practices; nurture leadership skills and expand knowledge networks; optimize county and taxpayer resources and cost savings; and enrich the public’s understanding of county government.