Becoming NCDA President is a great honor, but it’s also humbling. I see my time as a small slice in that having just commemorated NCDA’s 50th Anniversary, and the long continuum of influential leaders of this premier national association dedicated to supporting local governments on federal community and economic development and housing programs. I view this opportunity with humility, as well as a sense of excitement and possibility.
Especially, being a NCDA member has different kinds of value. There are the tangible benefits you receive and the products you value – like NCDA Washington Report which you get with your membership and the discounts available to you on training and conferences. But there are also the ancillary benefits – less tangible but still very real – that you receive from work on behalf of the profession.
One of the most positive developments in NCDA’s evolution has been its growing footprint in the federal policy arena and its increasing involvement in community development, affordable housing and economic development programs in local communities for its low- and moderate-income residents across the nation. NCDA is a trusted resource for Congressional Members and federal policymakers, and widely consulted as an authoritative voice on issues related to community development and housing. Much of the credit for NCDA’s greater presence in the policy arena goes to Past-President George Mensah and Executive Director Vicki Watson. I thank both of them for their dedication to this important, but often underappreciated work of NCDA. Although developing or influencing policy is the primary focus of NCDA’s advocacy, this work also serves as a means of engaging and educating our partners.
NCDA’s advocacy work benefits members, but it benefits the entire profession as well. And even though advocacy in the policy arena may not be your primary reason for joining NCDA, it’s a way in which your membership supports in making communities better places in which to live, work and enjoy, particularly for low- and moderate-income people.
I look forward to working with many of you as well as maintain the unyielding bipartisan support of Congress for the preservation and increase of funding.
Dale E. Cook, Jr.