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A Decade of Empowering Voters: Center Celebrates 10 Years of Service

RALEIGH - The N.C. Center for Voter Education celebrated its 10th anniversary at a Nov. 3 event in Raleigh, looking back at a decade of service to the people of North Carolina while looking to a future of informing and engaging voters in their democracy.

About 70 guests were in attendance, including Lieutenant Gov. Walter Dalton, N.C. Court of Appeals Judge Robert C. Hunter and Shannon Vickery, UNC-TV director of productions.

State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, current president of the Center, spoke passionately about his own motivation for joining the Center -- to reduce the influence of special interest money in North Carolina elections, while providing state voters with the facts they need to cast an informed ballot.

Former Center President Ed Wilson, a Superior Court judge from Rockingham County, led a toast to the organization’s founding president, former U.S. Sen. Robert Morgan, who along with a handful of board members launched the Center on Nov. 5, 1999 through the support of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

Morgan shared his recollection of the Center’s founding and stressed the importance of its continued work to engage citizens in their democracy and improve the election system.

Damon Circosta, current executive director of the Center, highlighted the attendance of his predecessor, Chris Heagarty, now a member of the N.C. House of Representatives.  Heagarty served as the organization’s lead staffer for its first eight years.

Among the accomplishments noted at the event were the Center’s decade-long production of print and online voters guides reaching millions of North Carolinians, its online radio station and magazine offering insightful coverage of national, state and local government and the success of the Center in achieving such reforms as public financing of appellate judicial elections -- the first program of its kind in the nation -- and the launch of a pilot public financing system for three Council of State races.

Debuting at the celebration was a new retrospective video on the Center’s 10 years of service to the people of North Carolina.

“We reach our 10th anniversary thanks to the generous support of conscientious organizations like the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, along with the dedication of citizens and elected officials such as Senator Morgan and Chris Heagarty,” said Circosta.  “As we look back at the good that the Center has accomplished in the past decade, we boldly move forward into our next decade with a steadfast commitment to empowering all North Carolina voters.”

The N.C. Center for Voter Education is a Raleigh-based 501c3 nonprofit and nonpartisan organization.