The N.C. League of Municipalities has a new top lobbyist representing the interests of cities and towns: Rose Vaughn Williams, who’s lobbied for the N.C. Department of Insurance since 2007.
Williams will become the group’s director of governmental affairs on Jan. 5 – just in time for the start of the legislative session. The position has been vacant since Paul Meyer was promoted to executive director about a year ago. League spokesman Scott Mooneyham said Meyer has been doing both jobs.
Williams – who has also been a judge and private practice attorney – has been listed among the top 50 most influential lobbyists at the General Assembly by the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research.
“Her depth of knowledge, her experience dealing with an array of policy issues, and her strong relationships with people throughout state government make Rose an ideal fit for North Carolina cities and towns,” Meyer said in a news release. “She will be a tremendous asset to the League as we enter this critical legislative session and moving forward.”
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Williams joins the League of Municipalities as it faces criticism that it didn’t effectively lobby against the legislature’s ban on business privilege tax – a measure many municipalities fear will hurt their budgets.
At a League-sponsored meeting last week in Southport, Republican Rep. Frank Iler of Oak Island said the lobbying efforts consisted of sending out bullet points.
“You have to decide what kind of grade you are going to give the League,” he said, according to the Wilmington Star News. “You have to decide what kind of communication they have been doing for you.”
Mooneyham said the League’s lobbying efforts on the privilege tax went much further, including speeches before legislative committees and meetings with top legislators.
“The League has been involved in discussions with legislators regarding the privilege license tax not just this year, but for many years,” Mooneyham said. “Besides the efforts of League lobbyists, many appointed and elected municipal officials across the state spoke to their legislators to let them know about the effects of the proposals.”
League members will meet Thursday to vote on the group’s agenda for the coming legislative session.