A new outlet for zeal

Staff WritersDecember 26, 2002 

Bill Martin, a Greensboro Democrat, spent much of his 20 years in the state Senate and last fall's campaign for Congress talking about training workers and improving health care, education and race relations. Having lost his election bid in the 13th Congressional District, he plans to continue focusing on those issues through the nonprofit organization he wants to start.

The start-up depends on funding from foundations. As he envisions it, the nonprofit would work in the seven counties included in the 13th District and possibly a few others. Martin said he picked those counties because he knows them but doesn't plan to use the nonprofit as a platform for another congressional campaign.

"It's a bit more difficult running when there's an incumbent," he said. Brad Miller, Martin's state Senate colleague from Raleigh who won the seat, "is going to be there for a good while," Martin said.

Martin also plans to crank up his law practice to focus on clients who need help working with state government. His lobbying would be "limited to causes and issues of which I am supportive."

How Europeans move

Nina Szlosberg, president of the N.C. Conservation Council and a member of the state Board of Transportation, will receive an Eisenhower Fellowship, allowing her to travel to western Europe in June and July to study community involvement in transportation planning. As head of the Hillsborough Street Partnership, Szlosberg has led an effort to redesign the street near N.C. State University. Next year, her fellowship travel will take her to Brussels, Belgium, and Strasbourg, France.

Szlosberg is one of five Triangle residents to receive a 2003 Eisenhower Fellowship. The others are Jane Cox, executive director of Food Bank of North Carolina Inc.; John Herrera, Carrboro alderman and vice president for Latino affairs for the Center for Community Self-Help; Trisha Lester, vice president for the N.C. Center for Nonprofits; and William G. Smith, president and CEO of Mutual Community Savings Bank Inc.

Don't concede early

LeRoy Clark Jr., who recently retired after 16 terms as state Senate reading clerk, has this piece of advice for new legislators: If you're pitching a bill on the floor of the House or Senate, make your case before yielding to a colleague.

One of Clark's funniest anecdotes after serving as reading clerk for parts of six decades (he filled in for the reading clerk during the 1959 and 1961 terms) involved a first-term senator who sought to pass a bill to restore the Dixie Basketball Classic. The college basketball tournament at NCSU's Reynolds Coliseum was killed in 1961 after a point-shaving scandal.

"He really got elected to the Senate for one purpose -- to reintroduce the Dixie basketball tournament," Clark said. "I told him, 'When you introduce that bill, don't let anyone interrupt you.' "

But sure enough, when a colleague asked if the senator would yield the floor, he conceded. His colleague then called for a vote to table the bill. It quickly passed, and just like that, the bill was dead.

"That senator actually cried," Clark said. "He actually sat down and wept."

Compiled by staff writers Lynn Bonner and Dan Kane. Bonner can be reached at 829-4821 or lbonner@newsobserver.com.

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