Mary Bethel, Associate State Director for Advocacy with AARP North Carolina won the 2012 Lyn Bodiford Award for Excellence in Advocacy. This national award is presented to the state advocate who has accomplished a highly significant goal while demonstrating creativity, calculated risk taking, effective collaboration, and a passionate desire to improve the quality of life for AARP members.
With three decades of experience working with aging issues, Bethel was instrumental in protecting and strengthening Medicaid in 2012 as part of a heated budget battle in the North Carolina General Assembly. Mary successfully organized volunteers and worked with coalitions to plug a $250 million funding shortfall after a standoff between the Democratic Governor and the Republican legislature. She succeeded in not only protecting Medicaid, but also in securing additional funds for home and community-based Services.
When accepting the award, Bethel credited the work of AARP volunteers for her success. “We are fortunate to have 109 Key Legislative Contacts who advocate for our priority issues. These dedicated volunteers raise awareness in their communities and maintain contact with their elected leaders on a routine basis sharing information on a broad range of AARP priorities. Their work has been invaluable.”