Speaker Hackney's office sent out this release this afternoon.
Remarks of Speaker Joe Hackney upon receiving the Excellence in Legislative Leadership Award from the National Conference of State Legislatures and the State Legislative Leaders Foundation. Hackney was recognized for his work to pass sweeping ethics reform in North Carolina last year and then successfully leading the House through this session. Hackney received the award Tuesday, Aug. 7, during NCSL's annual meeting in Boston. A photo of him with the award is available for download at http://www.ncsl.org/annualmeeting/joehackney.jpg.
"I am very grateful for this recognition and to all who played a role in my being here today -- House Principal Clerk Denise Weeks, who nominated me, others who wrote in support of the nomination, including Howard Lee, Franklin Freeman, Dr. William Friday and Gerry Cohen.
I want to thank Mr. Bulger, Steve Lakis and Bill Pound for their part in this award. I want to thank Prof. Marty Linsky from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who chaired the award committee, and the other members of the award committee for their consideration of my nomination.
I want to thank my colleagues in the North Carolina House and Senate, who worked together with me to respond to the crisis we faced. In this regard, I especially want to recognize Rep. Deborah Ross, Rep. Julia Howard and Sen. Dan Clodfelter and Sen. Tony Rand.
I would like to thank the dedicated members of our legislative staff, especially Walker Reagan, Erika Churchill and Laura DeVivo for their contributions in this effort.
I would like to thank my family, especially my wife Betsy, for putting up with me when times were bad. It is my hope that you, my colleagues from across the country, will never face the situation we faced in North Carolina -- that of having decades of reputation for good government endangered by the unlawful conduct of one or a few. But if you do, I hope that you will find in your state the same incredible determination that we found among our North Carolina colleagues, House and Senate, Democrat and Republican, a determination to come together and craft a response worthy of convincing a skeptical public and a skeptical press that we were serious about addressing their concerns and changing our culture.
My colleagues and I responded with new laws, new legislative rules, new ethics education and training, new enforcement and new reporting requirements.
But most of all, my colleagues did what most all of us have tried to do for our entire legislative careers. We faced each day with a determination to act honestly and ethically and with careful thought that day and every day that follows."
____________ Excerpted remarks from William M. "Billy" Bulger, former Massachusetts Senate president and former University of Massachusetts president. He was the first recipient of the award and it is named in his honor. He presented the award to Speaker Hackney.
"The Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award was established in 1995 and first presented in 1996 to honor a legislative leader who serves to maintain the honor and integrity of the legislative institution in a manner befitting the founding fathers that David McCullough will discuss in a moment.
The recipient receives this engraved award as well as a $10,000 donation to a charity or organization of their choice. The Honorable Joe Hackney, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, and winner of the 2007 Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award, is most definitely such a leader.
Taking over as Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives following a criminal investigation and indictment of his predecessor, Representative Hackney worked hard to restore public trust. Speaker Hackney, a 26-year-veteran of the North Carolina House, served as Majority Leader and Speaker Pro Tempore before becoming speaker in 2007.
Known for his patience and quiet leadership style, Hackney led a session that was among the most open and fair in recent memory.
Under his leadership, the North Carolina General Assembly opened ethics hearings, regulated legal defense funds and passed legislation denying pensions for legislators convicted of official job connected offenses.
Noted one traditional critic of the North Carolina General Assembly, "By all accounts, the process is more open and inclusive than it has been in many years."
Much of this change can be attributed to the leadership of Joe Hackney."