A surprise unscheduled appearance by Vice President Mike Pence highlighted Tuesday’s trip to the White House campus by county commissioners from Highland County and other Ohio counties.
Commissioner Shane Wilkin, who made the trip with fellow commissioners Jeff Duncan and Terry Britton, said Pence came in and talked to the officials in a surprise drop-by that was not on the schedule.
Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump and a frequent spokesman for the administration, also spoke to the local officials from Ohio who were invited to the briefings.
Other presentations were made by:
• Department of Agriculture, secretary Sonny Perdue.
• Deputy chief of staff and assistant to the president Rick Dearborn.
• Department of Transportation.
• Department of Housing and Urban Development.
• Department of Energy.
• Health and Human Services.
• Department of State.
• Department of Homeland Security.
• Environmental Protection Agency.
• Department of Interior.
• Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Trump administration hosted county commissioners from Ohio “in its continuing efforts to develop and promote relationships between the Administration and the influential leaders of local communities,” according to a media advisory from the White House.
“Tuesday’s event continues the administration’s innovative localized outreach efforts. Previous administrations have never held White House events dedicated solely for local county commissioners,” the advisory stated.
Wilkin said earlier this week that one of the benefits of the visit would be establishing relationships with administration officials, much like the value of such relationships with the offices of Congressman Brad Wenstrup and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.
“When you’re able to establish that personal relationship, you have a go-to person to talk about what we’re trying to do for Highland County,” said Wilkin. He said he had spoken with officials in other states who have attended similar meetings with the Trump administation, and was told the visit would be “absolutely worth it.”
The Trump administration said more than 80 commissioners and local elected officials would attend from across the state of Ohio, according to the advisory.
Trump traveled to Texas on Tuesday to meet with officials on the ground who are dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. He plans to return to the Lone Star State on Saturday.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.