I am honored for this opportunity to serve as President of your Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada. I look forward to working with the Executive Board, our standing committees, state and provincial organizations, and all of you, our members who are building stronger communities every day

In his address at this year's annual conference, Past-President Steven Gibson described the many accomplishments of the last year. Here, I will outline some of our initiatives for the coming years. As you know, finance officers play a vital role in leading our organizations and supporting the citizens, visitors, businesses, and the other institutions that make our communities thrive. Nowhere is that more true than with public infrastructure. Across the United States and Canada, governments face challenges in building, upgrading, and maintaining the infrastructure vital to our lives.

Addressing infrastructure deficiencies will require skills and knowledge from across a wide set of public-finance and local government management disciplines including capital planning, budgeting, debt management, citizen engagement, accounting, economic development, and more.

Tackling our most difficult infrastructure challenges will require much of what GFOA has to offer. We can all play a role in working together, sharing ideas, documenting best practices, and building our professional network. GFOA can provide the link that you, our 20,000-plus members who represent nearly 9,000 governments, need to help you collaborate, innovate, and advocate for your communities.

According to the 2017 Infrastructure Report Card by the American Society of Civil Engineers, our nation's infrastructure earned a cumulative grade of D+! The same report estimates that unmet infrastructure needs for the period of 2017 through 2025 totals $2.1 trillion--yes, trillion with a "T." The deteriorating infrastructure affects our communities every day.

For more than a century, tax-exempt municipal bonds have been the major funding source for public infrastructure. The volume of municipal bonds issued from 2007 to 2017 totaled $3.6 trillion. You might be surprised that the largest project category in the tax-exempt market is education, with an average of 28 percent. And I can tell you firsthand that these investments make a difference.

In my state of Virginia, 40 percent of all school facilities are 50 years old or older. This statistic holds true in my locality, where...

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