Don MacIsaac Presented NHMA's 2013 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award

Timothy Fortier

The information contained in this article is not intended as legal advice and may no longer be accurate due to changes in the law. Consult NHMA's legal services or your municipal attorney.

At its annual conference in November, NHMA recognized Don MacIsaac, a Selectman in Jaffrey, with its 2013 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year award.

The award is named after Russ Marcoux, the first recipient of NHMA’s Municipal Advocate of the Year award, who served as town administrator in Bedford. Unfortunately, Russ died in 2011 several days before he was to receive the award. The NHMA Board voted unanimously last year to rename the award the Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award in recognition of Marcoux’s enthusiastic and passionate advocacy for local government.

In her presentation remarks, Executive Director Judy Silva commented, “Don was instrumental in NHMA’s efforts to restore the State Aid Grant (SAG) funding to municipalities. He became an adjunct NHMA lobbyist and joined us on our visits with the Governor’s budget transition team and with House and Senate leadership – putting a real face on the issue. Don was an incredibly articulate spokesperson in one-on-one meetings and in providing compelling testimony at the legislature.”

This award recognizes a member selected by NHMA staff, whose efforts go “above and beyond the call of duty.” Don did just that. He orchestrated meetings with his local legislative delegation, his senator, his local chamber and businesses in his community. He was successful in getting the support of the Southwest Regional Planning Commission and the Monadnock Economic Development Council. Don rallied local officials in Peterborough, Claremont, Keene, and other municipalities and would often meet late into the night with other select boards or city councils discussing what could and should be done about the SAG issue. He made phone calls across the state to make his presence known on the issue. He was a media machine, ginning up continuous local news articles about the impact of the state aid grant issue on a small community such as Jaffrey and the southwest region of the state.

In accepting the award, Don said, “It was our grassroots efforts and the building of our coalition which provided the necessary momentum to move forward. Our success is due entirely to our recognition of the issue, our coming together, and our strong resolve to fix the problem.” Humbled by the recognition, he thanked municipal members for their active support during the advocacy campaign, their resolutions, their phone calls and emails to legislators and Governor Hassan, and their testimony before House and Senate committees.

It is often said that one person can make a difference. Don’s participation in NHMA’s advocacy efforts absolutely made a difference. Don provided key leadership on this issue affecting over 60 municipalities across New Hampshire. Although his personal interest was representing Jaffrey, he understood well his leadership role in representing all municipal SAG interests. NHMA and its members should be grateful that Don MacIsaac is on our team.

Congratulations Don!