Small counties are 'backbone' of Florida Association of Counties, says president


OKEECHOBEE -- Melissa McKinlay, president of the Florida Association of Counties, visited the Okeechobee County Commissioners at their Feb. 11 meeting. “I am making a concerted effort to visit as many county commissions as I can in person,” she said.

She said Okeechobee County is the fourth county she has visited. The others were Hendry, Glades, and St. Lucie counties.

“I really believe the small counties are the backbone of the association,” she said. “It’s easy for us big counties to join, but you guys are the ones who participate the most in our association.”

She offered the Florida Association of Counties offices as a “home away from home” if commissioners visit Tallahassee.

She said there is no room for partisanship when counties work together on issues that are important to all of their people.

McKinlay thanked the commission for their support of her recent effort to get more COVID-19 vaccine to western Palm Beach County, in areas that do not have access to a Publix pharmacy.

“We also were able to highlight the lack of vaccine opportunities in rural counties,” she said.

She congratulated Okeechobee County on getting the Okeechobee Publix added to the vaccination distribution points.

McKinlay said she joins Okeechobee County in the support of Florida agriculture. In this time, when the tourism industry has been crushed, the leading industry in the state is agriculture, she said.

McKinlay said it is important to support Florida’s farmers and ranchers not only to protect the income they bring into the state but also so they can continue to feed the nation.