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Triangle Downtowner Magazine

The AAC-WCDP Honors Those Who Have Made a Difference

Jun 02, 2017 02:36PM ● By Grace Drescher
The African American Caucus of the Wake County Democratic Party is focused on improving and educating the citizens of Wake County. The vision of the AAC-WCDP has been laid by a dynamic group of African Americans with a vast array of political and real life experience. They were a mix of officers from the City of Raleigh and the surrounding cities which made up Wake County. The AAC is chartered by the (AAC-NCDP), is an integral part of the North Carolina Democratic Party and Wake County Democratic Party and shall be influenced and guided by the platform and policies of the Democratic Party on the county, state, and national levels. The purpose of the organization is to seek full representative for African Americans at all levels and in all activities of the Democratic Party.

From Eunice Jones, the President of the AAC-WCDP: "The African American Caucus is honored to spotlight the amazing and unselfish accomplishments of this year's recipients. June Atkinson, Watne Goodwin, Larry Hall, Floyd B. McKissick, Jr. and Betty Lou Ward. I want to thank all (5) deserving recipients for their unselfish, and passion service to the community, and surround state of North Carolina. Thank you for your continued and active support of the African American Caucus of the Wake County Democratic Party."

Congratulations to all the honorees! Here is more about them:

Educational Enrichment Award
June St. Clair Atkinson is the first woman elected State Superintendent of the Public Schools of North Carolina and served in that position from August 2005 until December 2016. During her tenure as State Superintendent, she led efforts to move the high school graduation rate from 68 percent to an all-time high of nearly 86 percent. She has visited all 115 school districts and devoted much of her time as State Superintendent to listening to the voices of educators, parents, students, and business people. During her career, she has served as chief consultant and director in the areas of business education, career and technical education and instructional services within NCDPI. A former business education teacher in Roanoke, Virginia and Charlotte, North Carolina, June as been involved in professional development, instruction, and curriculum development throughout her career.

She has received numerous awards including accolades such as the Champion of Children Award from the North Carolina Association of the School Administrators, The State Policy Maker of the Year Award from the National Association for State Educational Technology Directors, Friends of the Arts Award for the North Carolina Arts Education Association, and the North Carolina Association of Educators' Inclusive Leadership Award. Delta Kappa Gamma, an educational society, awarded her its prestigious Founder's Awards. She has been inducted into the East Carolina Education Hall of Fame, been recognized as an outstanding alumnus of North Carolina State University, and received the University of North Carolina at Wilmington's Razor Walker Award. She has also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. In addition, June has held many professional offices including the President of the National Business Education Association, and Presidents of the National Council of Chief State School Officers.

She received a bachelor's degree in Business Education from Radford University, a master's degree in Vocational and Technical Education from Virginia Tech, and a doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy from North Carolina State University. Campbell University has awarded her a doctorate of Human Letters. She is married to Dr. William Gurley, a Cary orthodontist, and is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Cary.

Community Service Award
Wayne Goodwin was elected by the citizens of North Carolina in 2008 as the states' Tenth 
Insurance Commissioner and re-elected in 2012. As Insurance Commissioner, Goodwin was 
publicly recognized as a champion for consumers through fair ratemaking, injury prevention efforts, and close regulation of insurance company solvency and industry practices. During the time in office, he redoubled the department's efforts in fighting fraud and has saved approximately $2.4 billion for North Carolina consumers and businesses. He also helped reach a remarkable milestone; the lowest average auto insurance premiums in the nation. Goodwin also assessed record fines against insurance companies for misbehavior. In addition to his responsibilities as Insurance Commissioner, Goodwin was the State Fire Marshall and played a vital role in protecting lives and property in North Carolina. He was the state's fire chief, and with his team was responsible for buildings, and reviewing construction plans for state building projects. A native of Hamlet, North Carolina, where his family was active in agriculture, banking and textiles. Goodwin served as the Assistant Insurance Commissioner from 2004 to 2008. Prior to joining the Department of Insurance, Goodwin served four terms in the North Carolina House of Representative where he represented Richmond, Scotland, Montgomery and Stanly Counties. Goodwin is a Morehead Scholar and U.S. Senate/William Randolph Hearst Scholar. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with honors in political sciences and received his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina School of Law before practicing law in Richmond County for 13 years. He has also served in many elected positions throughout the Democratic Party - including precinct chair, county chair, Congressional district chair, Teen Democrats, and President of the Young Democrats. Goodwin has also served in multiple appointed state party posts. Shortly after the 2016 election, NC Democrats elected Wayne Goodwin the Chairman of the State Democratic Party with 92% among four candidates running. Goodwin and his wife, Melanie Wade Goodwin - who served three terms in the State House of Representatives from 2005-2010 - are the proud parents of daughter Madison and son Jackson.

Political Achievement Award
Larry D. Hall
is currently serving as the Secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military & Veterans Affairs. Secretary Hall represented Durham County, North Carolina's 29th district in 
the House of Representatives, since 2006 and he led House Democrats since 2012. Born and raised in his district and a student of public schools, Secretary Hall earned a B.S. with Honors in Political Science and Business from Johnson C. Smith Universtiy and a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon undergrad graduation, he was commissioned as an Officer in the United States Marine Corps. A decorated officer, Secretary Hall served 16 years in the United States Marines and Marine Corps Reserves and served in the support of the Operations in the Middle East in Lebanon and Iran. Secretary Hall has been awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, the Marine Corps Reserved Medal, the Armed Forces Reserved Medal, and a Meritorious Unit Citation from the Untied States Marine Corps. He served as a Rifle Platoon Commander, Weapons Company Executive Officer, Training Officer, Battalion Area Security Officer, Staff Judge Advocate, Communications Security Officer and Logistics Officer. Secretary Hall also served as Legal Officer and was formerly Commandant for the Marine Corps League Detachment, which assists Marines transitioning from activity duty to civilian life in locating employment, housing and educational opportunities for their families.

Secretary Hall is an active member of the community. He has served as an Executive Committee Member and Economic Committee Chairman of the Durham Branch of the NAACP, as Secretary and Chairman of the Durham Business and Professional Chain, and served on the Durham Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He has also served as Executive Officer of the Young Marines Program, Board Chairman of the Durham Companions Mentor Program, and as instructor and training officer teaching youth leadership, discipline, custom, courtesies, and traditions of the Marine Corps.

Secretary Hall's service to North Carolina continues to be merited, receiving the NAACP's President's Award, Equality in Legislation Leadership Award, and Excellence from the Courtroom to the Capital Community Service Award. Secretary Hall has been featured multiple times in Governing magazine and has been honored as a Champion of NC Working Families, a 100% Environmental Champion, and a Defender of jUstice for his commitment to safeguarding voting rights, expanding opportunities throughout the state for individuals and communities of low incomes, and protecting vulnerable families and members of the military from predatory lending.

As House Democratic Leader, Secretary Hall served on the state's Economic Development Board, the state's Innovation Council, The North Carolina Courts Commission - Chairperson, The Duke Medical Center Advisory Board, the Homeland Security, Military, and Veterans Affairs Committee - Chairman, and has been inducted as a Toll Fellow by the National Conference of State Governments. He was elected to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) 2015 Board of Directors to devise and execute nationwide elections strategy in state legislatures. Secretary Hall also is Chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.

Outstanding Leadership Award
Floyd McKissick
has served in the North Carolina State Senate since 2007. He currently serves as the Senior Deputy Democratic Leader in Senate. He served as Chairman of the North 
Carolina Legislative Black Caucus from 2010 to 2012; Chairman of the Durham County Democratic Party from 2005 to 2007; as s member of Durham City Council from 1993 to 2001; former member of the Durham Board of Adjustment and the Durham Planning Commission.

Senator McKissick currently serves as a member of the following legislative committees: Commerce, Finance, Health Care, Insurance, Judiciary I (Civil), and Rules & Operation of the Senate, Redistricting Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services, Revenue Laws Oversight, and the Legislative Oversight Committee on Government Operations.

He previously served on several Caucuses/Non-Legislative Committees for the North Carolina State Senate including the Education/Higher Education Committee, and on the Transportation Committee.

In 2009, he was honored to receive the NC Housing Coalition Legislative of the Year Award, the NC Justice Center's Defender of Justice Award, the NAACP Political Trailblazer Award, the 2011 "Distinguished Leadership" Award from the NC Divison of the American Planning Association, the 2011 Medal of Valor for Excellence, the "Move" Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the 2011 Smart Growth America's Leadership Award and the 2013 Legislative of the Year Award for his exceptional leadership during the 2013 Legislative session from the NC Metropolitan Mayor's Coalition. He received the 2014 Award as Legislator of the Year for the State of North Carolina from the Humane Society. The 2015 Stella J. Adams Fair Housing Advocate Award from the Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina, and the 2016 Bertha B. Holt Leadership and Courage Award from Planned Parenthood of the South Atlantic. On 2016, he received the Green Tie Awards for Senator of the Year and 2016 North Carolina League of Municipalities - Community Champion Awards.

Recently he was recognized as a 2016 Jobs Champion for North Carolina Chamber. He received an award as a Legislator of the Year 2016, from NBCSL in New Orleans. He has also received national recognition as the primary sponsor of North Carolina's Racial Justice Act and for his leadership on sustainable development issues.

Currently, Senator McKissick is a partner at McKissick and McKissick in Durham, NC, (1990 to present). Previously, he was an Associate at Dickstein, Shapiro, and Morin in Washington, DC; and an Associate at Faison, Brown, Fletcher and Brough in the Durham, NC. He previously served as a Consultant with the Washington DC Office of Peat, Marwick, and Mitchell where he co-authored numerous studies and reports. He is also an author of several published articles.

Senator McKissick received his JD from Duke University School of Law; his MPA in Public Administration from Harvard University; his MRP in Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and AB in Geography from Clark University.

Appreciation Award
Betty Lou Ward, who for nearly 40 years has worked to make Wake Country great and to advance the causes and ideas we all share. We are here today not only to honor her remarkable 
 contributions but to make sure she knows how much we admire, respect, and love her. Betty Lou Ward has served as a Wake County Commissioner since December 1988. She will have completed her 28th year on the commission, having been elected 7 (four years consecutive) terms! While we are saddened that she decided not to run again, we wish her well on a long overdue and well-deserved retirement. Our gathering today is just a small way to say thank you and to shower her our sincere gratitude for her service. Over the last 27 years, she has had the honor of serving as President of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners AND President of the National Association of Counties. Both of these leadership roles are a testimony to her leadership effectiveness and to the level of respect she has held amongst her peers. In Wake County, Commissioner Ward has been a strong advocate for public education beginning with her public service career; serving in the local PTA as well as a lifetime member of the North Carolina PTA> She also served as an active board member for the Wake Education Foundation, United Arts of Raleigh, and Communities in Schools. Commissioner Ward also served as Chair of the Wake County Social Services Board and sustains our community. She served as the Chair of the Growth Issues Task Force Committee for Wake County and throughout her distinguished career; she has been an effective champion for parks and greenways. There is so much more that can be written or said about Betty Lou Ward's  distinguished public service, but in respect, one of the most important contributions  Betty Lou has made is that she has been a powerful role model for women in our community, our state and across this nation. She ahs served with intelligence, patience, integrity and grace. As you look around this country you will see very little that her hands and heart have not touched. Betty Lou has gone beyond earning our respect and trust, she has earned our love.

Elected: 1988
Re-elected: 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012

National Leadership Positions
July 1998 - July 1999 President, National Association of Counties
July 1997 - July 1998 First Vice President, National Association of COutnies
2005 Vice Chair, Health Committee, National Association of Counties
2000 - 2008 Chair, Arts and Culture Committee, National Association of Counties
1997 Chair, Bylaws Committee, National Association of Counties

Public Service & Community Activities
Vice Chair, Wake County Board of Commissioners, 2010
Wake County Commissioner since December 1988
Commissioners' Chair for 1999 - 2000; Vice Chair, 1998 - 1999
Chair, Board of Commissioners Growth Issues Task Force Committee, 2009 - 2010
Chair, Commissioners; Human and Community Services Committee, 2001 and 2002
Vice Chair, Commissioners' Bidget, Finance, and Education Committee, 2002
Member, Commissioners' Bidget, Finance, and Education Committee, 2001
Co-Chair, Local Government Partnership Council
Co-Chair, Human Services Automation Planning Council of North Carolina
National Council on Air Quality Standards
Board of Directors, Wake Education Foundation
Board of Directors, United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County 
Board of Trustees, Communities in Schools
North Carolina PTA (Lifetime Member)
Past President, North Carolina Association of County Commissioners
Past Chair, Wake County Social Services Board
Past Member, Wake County Board of Health
Served on the Raleigh Planning Commission for ten years
Served on the Wake County Council on Fitness and Health

Awards & Recognitions
Academy of Women
Triangle Business Journal's Ten Most Powerful Women in the Triangle, 1998

Graduate, Asbury School of Nursing
Further study, Early ChildhoodDevelopmentt
N.C. Institute of Government, LocalGovernmentt OCurse

Husband, Bill; Children, Jeffy and Missy

Recipient information courtesy of The African American Caucus of the Wake County Democratic Party's 3rd Annual Luncheon pamphlet