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2012 Novogradac Community Development Foundation Community Development Individual Award Recipients


Federal Legislator of the Year

Senator Maria Cantwell



Maria Cantwell currently serves as a United States Senator for the State of Washington. As a respected leader – both in public service and in the private sector – Maria has always embraced the values she first learned growing up in a strong working-class family. With the help of Pell Grants, Maria was the first member of her family to graduate college. Later, a successful businesswoman in Washington's hi-tech industry, she helped build a company that created hundreds of high-paying jobs from the ground up.

Maria was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 and again in 2006, pledging to honor the hard work, aspirations and faith of the people of Washington state. She is working to create affordable opportunities for consumers, businesses and families, to make our nation more secure today, to foster innovation for tomorrow, and to stand with parents as they educate and care for their children.

Maria gets results. She cut taxes for the middle-class by ensuring that Washington taxpayers can deduct state and local taxes from their federal returns. She fought attempts by the Bush Administration to raise local electricity rates. When bankrupt Enron officials tried to charge Washington ratepayers for millions of dollars in undelivered electricity, Maria led the effort that successfully stopped them. Maria has protected countless jobs in Washington's aerospace industry by cracking down on foreign companies' unfair trade practices and has worked to create still more well-paying jobs through effective investments in new technology and valuable job training. Maria successfully led the fight to stop drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and is leading efforts in the Senate to make America more energy independent. She has been a proud advocate for better educational opportunities for our children and less expensive, more accessible health care for our families. Maria continues to build new growth and strong partnerships, insisting on responsibility and making life more affordable for all of Washington's families.

State Legislator of the Year

State Rep. Steve Crisafulli



Steve Crisafulli is one of us! A fourth generation resident of Brevard County, Steve was educated in our public schools, Brevard Community College, and the University of Central Florida. He runs his family’s local business and is deeply involved in our community, where he and his wife Kristen are raising their two daughters.

During these difficult economic times, we need a representative like Steve Crisafulli, who has created jobs. As a small businessman, Steve understands the challenges of making a payroll, balancing a budget, and paying taxes and insurance premiums.

Being a good representative means reaching out and asking what we think and what’s important to us. Steve Crisafulli is active and accessible in our community. Steve served as the President of the Brevard County Farm Bureau and has always been involved in the agricultural industry. In fact, his roots in local agriculture go back almost a century. He is a past graduate of Leadership Brevard and an active member of the Cocoa Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. Steve also served on the Board of Directors of Space Florida, our state’s space agency, from 2009-2010.

Steve Crisafulli believes in strong families. To Steve, family values begin at home. Steve has been married to his wife Kristen for 15 years, and the Crisafullis have two daughters – Carly and Kennedy. Not only has Steve coached Little League, but he and Kristen are also involved in their daughters’ education at Lewis Carroll Elementary School. Faith is very important to the Crisafullis, who are members of the First Baptist Church of Merritt Island.

Public Executive of the Year

Nancy Whitworth

Director of Economic Development
Greenville, S.C.


As the city's economic development director, Whitworth defines her role as problem solver, provider of encouragement and salesperson.   When she stepped into the role of director in 1992, she says the sky was the limit when anyone asked the question,  Where would you like to see Greenville go?   And it was.  But even the sky had some obstacles.  Constantly riding the line between the developers and the city, Whitworth brings balance to the equation.   The magic of making things work is the public-private partnership.  When I say there is no one person, I mean you ve got to step out of your public hat and understand how the private sector works, what it takes to make something happen.  You want to be successful and find balance, communicate and advocate for both sides.   Whitworth waves away any hint of claiming the spotlight for the work she s already accomplished.   I m the face people see, but it takes a total city commitment.  The best spokespeople are not those who speak:  sanitation, engineers, police, fire, often the things we take for granted.  It is about the total delivery.   Whitworth has also worked with a lot of mayors and city councilors and says the thing everyone has in common is the commitment to making downtown  Everybody s neighborhood, that special place that supports the whole.

Whitworth continues to believe that mixed-use makes the most sense for downtown.   The true test of how well Greenville does is to have a range of mixed-income housing that will stand the test of time.  We can t distinguish; we have to have something for everyone.   Per Whitworth,  It s important to have a vision, but you must be able to convert that vision into reality.  In the process, neighborhoods will be connected and receive more revitalization and renovation.  You have to have a healthy core before you can spin out.

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