Under the Dome

Rep. Nelson Dollar wins end-of-session awards

Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), senior chair of the House Appropriations committee, presides over a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 29, 2015.
Rep. Nelson Dollar (R-Wake), senior chair of the House Appropriations committee, presides over a committee meeting at the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on Wednesday, July 29, 2015. cseward@newsobserver.com

As the legislature wrapped up its longest session in years, Republican Rep. Nelson Dollar took home a pair of awards honoring his work.

Dollar – the senior House budget writer who’s represented Cary for more than a decade – won honors from the State Employees Association of North Carolina, or SEANC, and Appalachian State University.

SEANC’s political arm, EMPAC, named Dollar its legislator of the year. “(Dollar) has always been a friend to state employees,” EMPAC chairman Tony Smith said. “When he sat in the back of the chamber as a member of the minority party, he was a supporter of state employees. And nothing changed when he took one of the most powerful gavels in the building as appropriations chair.”

Smith praised Dollar for pushing for a 2 percent raise for all state employees this year. Senate leaders didn’t support the proposal, and the final budget instead gave employees a $750 one-time bonus.

“This didn't make him too popular with the Senate, who put in nothing for a raise, or with groups who feel like spending money to help your employees keep up with the cost of living is ‘wasteful,’” Smith said.

EMPAC also named Republican Rep. Gary Pendleton of Raleigh its freshman legislator of the year.

Dollar also received Appalachian State’s Distinguished Alumnus Award recently. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Boone university in the early 1980s and got his legislative start in the student Senate there.

A news release about the award said Dollar was “instrumental in securing funds to plan and design a building for Appalachian’s Beaver College of Health Sciences.”

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