Porstmouth City Council Recognized for Outstanding Legislative Advocacy

NHMA Staff

First “Governing Body” to Receive 2016 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award

Each year, the Municipal Advocate of the Year award is given by NHMA staff based on our interactions with municipal officials during the legislative session. We established this award in 2011 to recognize an elected or appointed local official(s) for his or her non-partisan contributions toward the advancement of NHMA’s legislative policy goals and for the advocacy of municipal interests generally.

In 2011, NHMA staff selected Russ Marcoux, town manager in Bedford, as the first-ever recipient of the Municipal Advocate of the Year award because Russ did all the things we want members to do in support of our legislative policy and to enhance the success of our legislative agenda. Russ passed away just days before the 2011 Annual Conference and he never knew we had created such an award or that he had been selected the first recipient. So in his honor, the NHMA board of directors renamed this recognition as the Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year award.

At its recent annual conference in November, NHMA recognized the Portsmouth City Council with its 2016 Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year award.

In his presentation remarks, NHMA’s Government Affairs Counsel, Cordell Johnston, stated: “Our five previous Advocate of the Year award winners have all been individuals, and that is how we always envisioned the award. The award has gone to three town administrators or managers, one selectman, and one assessor. This year, for the first time, the award goes to the entire governing body of one of our member municipalities."

That’s because this group has become a model of how to engage in legislative advocacy at the municipal level:

They have a legislative subcommittee that meets regularly to review legislation and make recommendations.

The subcommittee also meets regularly with their senator and representatives to discuss legislation and inform them of their positions.

They encourage municipal staff to provide necessary information to the legislative delegation.

They regularly send staff to the state house to follow what is going on and testify when necessary.

And they usually keep us informed about their legislative efforts, so that we can coordinate with them.

And we know that their legislators listen to them, because we hear it from the legislators when we are at the state house.

Their efforts also have the secondary effect of improving our own standing. Our relationships with legislators are enhanced when they know that we are working closely with the same people they are.

You may have guessed by now that this is one of the state’s larger municipalities, and not every city or town has the capacity to do all of this. But it is something to aspire to, and if each municipality did 20 or 50 or 70 percent of what this city council does, it would be a major boost to NHMA’s legislative efforts. We are pleased to present the Russ Marcoux Municipal Advocate of the Year Award to the Portsmouth City Council.

Past recipients of this recognition include:

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