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 Municipal officials set legislative goals at Advocacy Goals Conference 

Hundreds of municipal officials from across the state gathered at the Raleigh Convention Center on Jan. 24 to decide the League’s legislative priorities for the 2013-2014 biennium. After a year-long process of cultivating and developing goals from the membership, delegates from each town selected and prioritized 25 legislative goals, five regulatory goals and updated the League’s Core Municipal Principles.

The goals were narrowed down from 169 suggested goals from 45 towns and four League affiliate groups.

This is the second Advocacy Goals Conference held by the League and the first to include a networking mixer. Roughly 120 legislators, municipal officials and guests attended the event at the DoubleTree Brownstone Wednesday night to discuss goals and mingle.

Governor Pat McCrory stopped by the conference to address the membership about economic development in the state. He spoke about establishing a partnership with municipal officials to find long-term, sustainable solutions to North Carolina’s challenges.

"We’ve got some good main streets, but we’ve got some main streets in North Carolina that are boarded up, and you’re at the grassroots [level]. You can’t run away from it – you’ve gotta deal with it,” Gov. McCrory said. “I want to be your partner in trying to deal with it because the health of your city is the health of our state.”

The Governor also offered to come back to another League gathering to speak directly with members instead of giving a speech.

In addition to adopting new goals, conference attendees picked up tips for working with legislators during lunch from Carolyn Justice, a former N.C. House of Representatives member, and current Representatives Ruth Samuelson and Larry Hall.

With a changing general assembly – in both party and experience – the speakers stressed the importance of relationship building now more than ever. This session will welcome 52 freshman legislators and mark the first Republican-controlled General Assembly for the first time in 140 years.

According to Samuelson, being patient and keeping your legislators in touch with hometown happenings is key. “If I see you as a friend who keeps me engaged and brings me information, I’m more likely to help you,” Samuelson said.