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Magazine names McAuliffe one of the nation’s top public officials

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Governing magazine has named Gov. Terry McAuliffe the Public Official of the Year among the nation's governors.

The Democrat, who is serving his last year in office, is one of nine public officials honored in the magazine’s December issue.

Since 1994, Governing has honored state and local government officials for making an impact on the people they serve. Elected, appointed and career officials from any branch of state or local government are eligible.

The magazine cited McAuliffe’s economic development efforts, recruiting companies during his tenure that are expected to create more than 200,000 jobs.

“His single proudest achievement, however, is restoring voting rights to felons,” the magazine said. “In most states, this happens automatically.” In Virginia, however, the restoration of voting rights requires action by the governor.

Barred by a court ruling from making a blanket restoration, McAuliffe handled each case individually, eventually restoring the voting rights of 165,000 ex-convicts.

The magazine noted that the Republican-controlled General Assembly blocked much of McAuliffe’s legislative agenda during his term, including his top priority, Medicaid expansion.

Other public officials recognized by the magazine include: Marybel Batjer, California secretary of government operations; Phil Bertolini, chief information officer, Oakland County, Mich.; Tom Dart, sheriff, Cook County, Ill.; Jim Denning and Jim Ward, Senate majority leader and House minority leader, respectively, Kansas General Assembly; Bertha Henry, administrator, Broward County, Fla.; Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix; and Leana Wen, health administrator, Baltimore.

The officials were selected from nominations submitted by readers, experts in the public and private sectors and the magazine’s editorial team. The award winners will be honored at a dinner at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 30.

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