Commissioner appointed to national committee

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Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos was named the chair of the National Association of Counties (NACo) Transportation and Telecommunication Steering Committee Monday. She was appointed by NACo President C. Vernon Gray.

According to Raftopoulos, NACo has 10 steering committees that form the policy-making arm of the association. Each committee is made up of 50 to 60 county officials who meet several times during the year to discuss issues deemed critical to local government.

Raftopoulos' interest in telecommunications and her current position on Colorado Counties Inc. board of directors were two key factors in her appointment.

"I think it was because I have a lot of interest in telecommunication issues for our state and local area," she said. "The field is changing so rapidly, we need to have someone on the national level."

The transportation and telecommunications steering committee focuses on comprehensive transportation planning issues such as highway finance and safety, public transit development and finance, airport development, railroads and waterways. Members also work to develop new modes of transportation and telecommunications policy.

According to Raftopoulos, her appointment will give rural Colorado, and Moffat County, input on state and national issues.

"There are important statewide issues, but there are also rural telecommunications and transportation issues," she said. "We have to be there with that voice."

Steering committee recommendations on legislative policies and goals will be presented to NACo members during an annual conference held in March in Washington, D.C. If approved, the recommendations become part of the American County Platform, "which is the basis of NACo's efforts in representing counties before Congress and the White House," NACo official Tom Goodman said.

Raftopoulos said though the appointment is an important one, it will not be time-consuming. She anticipates only having to meet two to three times each year.

The appointment is for one year and will close out Raftopoulos' last year in office. She was elected in 1996 and her term will end in November 2000.

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