2019: A Year in Review

Happy Holidays! 

On behalf of the NARC staff, thank you for all of your support during the past year. Here is a quick look back at all of our successes in 2019:

NARC Staff wishes you all a very happy holiday season!

Heading to the Hill on Behalf of Regions

NARC worked hard to engage with Congress and federal agencies to increase the profile of regions at the federal level. NARC brought members of key congressional committees to speak before members at the National Conference of Regions. NARC also coordinated a fly-in for the Major Metros Roundtable, bringing 16 regional councils together on Capitol Hill to advocate for regional solutions.

Attendees of the Major Metros Fly-in pictured in the Capitol Rotunda.

Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) Program

We continued our work with National Association of Councils (NACo) and USDA on the Rural Economic Development Innovation (REDI) grant. We had a successful kickoff event in Clark County, Nevada, where we brought the communities of the cohort together to share their regional obstacles and assets. NACo and NARC will work with the communities through summer of 2020 to help each develop their own regional economic development plan.

Boone County, Kentucky Judge/Executive Gary Moore and Southwest Colorado Council of Governments, Executive Director Miriam Gillow-Wiles speak at the REDI kickoff.
REDI Program kickoff attendees in Clark County, Nevada.


National Conference of Regions held in Washington, DC in February featured a packed schedule of congressional and federal agency speakers, including a keynote by Dr. Ben Carson.

Left: 2018-2019 NARC President Geof Benson shakes hands with Secretary Carson.

Omaha, Nebraska, the home of the College World Series and four Fortune 500 headquarters,  was the location of our 53rd Annual Conference and Exhibition in June.

NARC’s Executive Directors Council gathers for a picture in Omaha.

Our Executive Directors Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in October saw record attendance with several new directors meeting their peers for the first time.

Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Ty Warner leads a session in Scottsdale.

Membership Week

The last week of September was Membership Week at NARC. NARC staff reached out to each and every member to thank them for their continued support and leadership. Additionally, NARC staff used the week to promote the benefits of NARC membership, highlighting NARC’s federal advocacy efforts, program and policy resources, and opportunities for information sharing and networking.

Fiscal Officers Group

A new NARC working group was born in 2019: the Fiscal Officers Group. This group brings together financial professionals from regional councils to talk about fiscal and legal topics that impact all NARC members in their day-to-day activities. Along with holding quarterly calls, the Fiscal Officers Group met face-to-face during the National Conference of Regions and the Executive Directors Conference. 

Older Americans Act Advisory Group

NARC initiated a special working group of members and partner organizations to discuss the reauthorization process of the Older Americans Act. The working group was organized in early 2019 to discuss potential changes to OAA and has continued as the reauthorization has progressed. Work within the group will continue as the reauthorization process extends into 2020. 

New Association Management Software

Get ready for NARC’s new association management software (AMS) system coming to members in January 2020! This software will streamline NARC’s operations, including simplifying invoice procedures, improving member communications, and creating a new system for resource sharing and interaction among members.

Four Ways Regions Can Help Prepare for the Upcoming Census

Now that 2020 is nearly upon us, the U.S. Census Bureau has entered a critical stage of planning for the decennial census. The agency has been busy trying to hire nearly half a million temporary workers to help carry out the national headcount. A national 2020 census advertising campaign is expected to kick off in January. And census materials are continuing to be prepared and finalized to send via mail or hand-delivery to American households.

How can you help the Census Bureau prepare your region for the upcoming 2020 census? Please see the action items below:

Urge Congress to Provide Direct, Full-Year Funding for the 2020 Census

Congress is still working to finalize and pass the fiscal year (FY) 2020 federal appropriations bills. They are currently operating under the second continuing resolution (CR) of this new fiscal year, which provides funding to federal agencies through December 20, 2019. This most recent CR provided the Census Bureau a temporary spending rate of at least $6.7 billion for 2020 census as well as at least $90 million to implement a mobile Question Assistance Center program.

Although this was a much-appreciated addition to the CR, the Census Bureau needs the certainty of full-year FY 2020 appropriations now. Operating without funding certainty could force the agency to curtail or delay critical aspects of their final preparations, jeopardizing the ability of the federal government to be able to complete an accurate count. This could negatively impact the geographic distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal funding annually and long-term regional planning decisions for years to come.

NARC and its census advocacy partners urge you to call your members of Congress, especially if they serve on congressional appropriations committees or in House or Senate leadership positions, and ask them to fully fund 2020 census activities for the entire fiscal year in the third CR or in a final FY 2020 Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations measure — whichever comes first. Talking points developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights can be found here.

Inform and Prepare Local Elected Officials Regarding the Implementation of the Executive Order on Citizenship Data

President Donald Trump issued an executive order in July 2019 directing the Census Bureau to compile federal and, where possible, state administrative records to produce data on citizens and noncitizens. In October, the Census Bureau issued a statement asking states to voluntarily share driver’s license records as a part of these efforts. Some states, such as Maine and Illinois, have already indicated that they will not comply with the request to participate in this data sharing agreement with the Census Bureau. Several organizations have filed a legal challenge stating the action is unconstitutional.

Whether their state has indicated they will participate in this voluntary data sharing agreement, local officials should remember:

  • A citizenship question will not be on the 2020 census questionnaire.
  • All data collected by the Census Bureau (including data collected via administrative record sharing agreements) are confidential and protected under federal law. The agency is not allowed to release individual data or personal responses to anyone, for any purpose — including to other government agencies or law enforcement.
  • It is critical to remind all residents early and often to participate in the decennial census. Communities missed in the census could potentially lose out on funding, resources, and equal political representation.

Promote Census Bureau Job Recruitment

The Census Bureau is hiring in regions across the United States. The decennial census could not operate at full capacity without a large team of temporary census workers. Job opportunities include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff, and supervisory staff. These temporary jobs are a great opportunity for your residents to earn extra income, often on a flexible working schedule, while helping ensure that everyone in the region is counted.

Regional councils are encouraged to work with community leaders, businesses, and other workforce stakeholders to get the word out on these job opportunities. If your organization serves in the administrative role for your local workforce development board, make sure you are promoting this opportunity to jobseekers participating in your various workforce programs. Those interested in applying can visit the Census Bureau’s main job recruitment page to learn more.

Review Resources Regarding the Upcoming 2020 Census

Please use the following resources for reference as we near the official 2020 census kickoff. Feel free to share with your local and regional stakeholders working to help get the word out on the upcoming nationwide headcount!