Commissioner Howerton Named 2020 Outstanding Baby Advocate
Durham, N.C. – Durham County Commissioner Brenda Howerton was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Baby Advocate Award for state and local policymakers from the Think Babies™ NC Alliance at the organization’s Think Tank and Celebration at North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center on Monday, February 24, 2020. The awards are presented to individuals, organizations, businesses and local or state policymakers who have increased public awareness or promoted programs and policies for babies and their families in North Carolina.
“Commissioner Brenda Howerton received this award because of her outstanding leadership and advocacy to move the needle for babies and their families,” said N.C. Early Education Coalition Policy Director Michele Rivest. “Her efforts were not just in Durham County, but in all 100 counties in North Carolina and beyond.”
As President of the North Carolina Association of Counties in 2018, Commissioner Howerton launched the “100 Counties Helping Our Children Thrive” initiative which invited counties to find solutions to give all children the essentials to thrive by developing their own plans for innovative programs ranging from prenatal care to early childhood education.
“Our children our precious to us. They are everything to me,” said Howerton, who is a member of the Think Babies™ NC Leadership Team. “They are my motivation and my strength. I fought for them all of my life, and it’s a fight I will continue so that all our children can have the chance to THRIVE.”
Other winners of the 2020 Outstanding Baby Advocate Award are: North Carolina Representatives Josh Dobson and MaryAnn Black, Child Care Services Association, MomsRising, Cassandra Brooks, Crystal Kelly and the Watauga Children’s Council, The Partnership for Children of Johnston Council and The Randolph Partnership for Children
The Durham Board of County Commissioners advocacy for babies extends beyond North Carolina’s border. The BOCC recently sent a proposed policy resolution to the upcoming National Association of Counties (NaCo) Legislative Conference. The proposed resolution calls on NACo to support legislation that would protect and increase investments in early childhood development to ensure that needed educational, nutritional and social services are available to children in the critical years of development between birth and age three. These investments include programs such as home visiting programs, child wellness, Head Start, Early Head Start and quality childcare and support of the early childhood workforce. By investing in and demonstrating leadership in these early childhood development programs, counties can begin to fight poverty and reduce inequality.
“The future of our Country/Durham depends on our children,” Howerton said. “The critical years of development are between birth and three years of age and it sets the platform for our children’s success. As leaders, it is contingent upon us to be responsible and accountable for their success. We MUST invest in our children and their well-being.”
Rivest added that Howerton’s service to Think Babies™ NC Leadership Team has been vital.
“We deeply appreciate Brenda’s service on our Leadership Team from the very beginning bringing the voice of county commissioners to our work and reminding us to focus on children and families in communities throughout North Carolina,” said Rivest. “As a result of her leadership and inspiration, we have seen counties across the state provide local leadership and funding to help advance our policy agenda.”