Wayne County Commission Vice-Chair Alisha Bell's trip to the National Association of Counties (NACo) 2016 Annual Conference & Exposition held July 22-25 in Long Beach, Calif., was an historic one, netting her several prominent leadership positions.
Bell, D-Detroit, who has been an active member of NACo for several years, was elected president of two organizations - the National Association of Black County Officials and the Women of NACo. In addition, Commissioner Bell was reappointed to one of the 10 at-large NACo board positions.
"I am truly honored and so appreciative of the opportunity to serve prominently with these wonderful organizations," said Bell, who represents the Commission's 7th District, covering part of Detroit's west side. "Attending these conferences allows elected officials to listen, discuss and share ideas, and then to make sure our voices are heard in Washington before Congress. I have been honored to be a member of NACo for several years and look forward to continuing to represent Wayne County on issues that affect all of us.
"Serving as president of NABCO is a special honor because my mom, Edna Bell, served as president of this great organization 20 years ago," Bell continued. "I look forward to growing our membership as well as providing pertinent information to our members that will assist them in providing their constituents with the best in county services."
The conference featured workshops and meetings addressing counties' role in public safety, public health and economic development, and included powerful speeches from NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and historian Jon Meacham. Abdul-Jabbar discussed race in American society, while Meacham focused on divisiveness in American political history.
Bell, who joined more than 2,500 elected and appointed officials at the 81st NACo conference, is a member of NACo's Justice and Public Safety Committee and is chair of its Juvenile Justice sub-committee. She is also a member of the Large Urban Caucus Committee (LUCC).
Bell is in her seventh term as a Wayne County commissioner, dating to 2003, and third term as vice-chair of the Commission, as selected by her peers. She serves on three committees: Ways and Means, as vice-chair; Health and Human Services; and Public Safety, Judiciary and Homeland Security.
Founded in 1935, NACo assists counties "in pursuing excellence in public service to produce healthy, vibrant, safe and resilient counties. It promotes sound public policies, fosters county solutions and innovation, promotes intergovernmental and public-private collaboration and provides value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money," according to its mission statement.