NNPA Leadership Awards Honors Legendary Poll Worker and Esteemed Legislators

By Stacy M. Brown

The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) 2018 National Leadership Awards Reception provided what one might expect when California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green, and South Carolina’s Jim Clyburn make up one-third of the recipients.

“We are here to recognize our brothers and sisters who are truly national leaders and who stand for freedom, justice and equality not when its popular, but when it’s not so popular to be freedom fighters,” said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr.

Awardees included: California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, Texas Democratic Rep. Al Green, and South Carolina’s Jim Clyburn, National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes, Capstone Development Founder Norman K. Jenkins, E-Commerce Leader Arsha Jones, Dr. Wally Smith, Television Personality Kellee Edwards and legendary poll worker Laura Wooten.

At 97, Wooten is the longest continuously serving poll worker in America. Immediately upon graduating from Princeton High School in 1939, Wooten was recruited to work the polls by her great uncle, Anderson Mitnaul, who was running for Justice of the Peace. More than seven decades later, Wooten is still working the polls and her 79-year streak remains intact.

“Voting is important,” Wooten told the audience who saluted her with a prolong standing ovation. “We need to engage young people to get out to vote. I hope we can do better this year. On November 6, get out and vote,” she said.

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