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League presents Community Champion, General Assembly Ambassador Awards 

by: Scott Mooneyham, NCLM Advocacy Communications Strategist

For Senator Gene McLaurin of Rockingham, it was all about his longstanding support of League land-use planning priorities and preserving traditional municipal authority. For Representative Andy Wells of Hickory, his help with critical water legislation and his candor in helping the League negotiate the shifting landscape at the North Carolina General Assembly was key. Legislative Assistant Mary Marchman of Raleigh had always been there for constituents and others with business before the Legislature, helping them navigate the often confusing and sometimes intimidating procedures and surroundings.

All three were recently recognized with annual awards from the League, presented during the CityVision 2014 annual conference held in Greensboro. Senator McLaurin and Representative Wells were presented the Community Champion Award for 2014. The League presents the award to legislators who make strong efforts to work with municipal officials and ensure that municipal interests are represented during the legislative process.

Senator McLaurin, the former mayor of the Town of Rockingham, is a first-term senator representing Scotland, Richmond, Anson and Stanly counties, and a portion of Rowan County. Representative Wells is a first-term House member representing a portion of Catawba County

Ms. Marchman was presented the inaugural General Assembly Ambassador award. The award recognizes a legislative staff member for professionalism and selflessness while carrying out his or her duties at the Legislature. Ms. Marchman has been a legislative assistant for the last 11 years, working both the House and Senate. She currently serves as legislative assistant to Senator Kathy Harrington of Gastonia.

"Each of these award recipients is a true champion and true professional. Their service at the Legislature has been invaluable to the state, its cities and towns, and the residents of North Carolina," said League Executive Director Paul Meyer. League President Ronnie Wall presented the awards to Senator McLaurin, Representative Wells and Ms. Marchman.

In remarks to those attending the NCLM awards dinner and celebration at the Koury Convention Center, Senator McLaurin noted the relative inexperience of the current legislature and how many legislators do not come to the job with a municipal perspective. He challenged city and town officials to take that perspective to their legislators. Representative Wells discussed his upbringing as the son of a city manager, and noted how issues that are allowed to fester locally can end up before legislators. Ms. Marchman gave a witty speech on how to tactfully approach and discuss issues with lawmakers.

The League extends it congratulations and thanks to Senator McLaurin, Representative Wells and Ms. Marchman, and looks forward to working with each in the years to come.