Hampton Falls Town Administrator Karen Anderson Receives Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award

The 2024 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the year award was presented at NHMA’s annual awards banquet held on November 15 in conjunction with the NHMA Annual Conference in Manchester.

NHMA’s Executive Director, Margaret Byrnes, recounted the history of the award: it was initiated in 2011 by NHMA staff as an incentive and a recognition for a local official who had made extraordinary effort in advocating on legislative issues affecting local government. The staff decided in 2011 to give the first award to Bedford town manager Russ Marcoux.

Byrnes explained that Russ had been a model of municipal advocacy, following legislation carefully, talking regularly to his legislative delegation, and frequently coming to Concord to testify before legislative committees. Most of all, he exhibited the “appropriate level of moral outrage” toward some of the legislation proposed every year. Sadly, Russ became ill shortly before the 2011 Annual Conference and died a few weeks later, never knowing that he had been chosen for the award.

In his honor, NHMA decided the following year to name the award after him. It has been given every year since then (other than a break in 2020, when the legislative session ended abruptly before it was half over) to a local official who exemplified the Russ Marcoux tradition.

Karen Anderson

NHMA Government Affairs Counsel, Natch Greyes, presented this year’s award to Karen Anderson, Hampton Falls Town Administrator.   

In his introductory remarks, Greyes stated, “This is an individual who not only kept us in the loop, not only on legislation that was filed on behalf the municipality, and not only took the time to read our communications throughout the legislative session and not only keep us informed of conversations with legislators, but someone who caused a legislator to hunt me down in the hallways of the state house to find out NHMA’s top priorities.”

Greyes continued, “The thing that amused me the most about that conversation was how much the legislator was put out of sorts by the fact that this year’s recipient had followed the voting record of the town’s legislators and requested a mid-session meeting when that record did not reflect the priorities of the town. More than that, I was assured that this year’s recipient “knows everyone in town” and “she’ll let them know if I don’t start standing up for municipalities.”

Past recipients of this recognition are:

2011    Russell R. Marcoux, Town Manager, Town of Bedford

2012    James Michaud, Assessor, Town of Hudson

2013    Don MacIsaac, Selectman, Town of Jaffrey

2014    Julia N. Griffin, Town Manager, Town of Hanover

2015    Shaun Mulholland, Town Administrator, Town of Allenstown

2016    Portsmouth City Council, City of Portsmouth

2017    Bill Herman, Town Administrator, Town of Auburn

2018    Mark Bender, Town Administrator, Town of Milford

2019    Christopher Boldt, Selectman, Town of Sandwich

2020    No award (COVID)

2021    Mayors of New Hampshire’s 13 Cities

2022    Ken Robichaud, Town Administrator, Town of Northfield

2023    Karen Anderson, Town Administrator, Town of Hampton Falls