Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson gets top LMC award

Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson, second from left, receives the C.C. Ludwig award from the League of Minnesota Cities. The award is considered to be the League’s highest honor for elected officials. Pictured are Dave Osberg, left, administrator for the city of Eagan, incoming LMC first vice president; Marvin Johnson; Shaunna Johnson, administrator for the city of Waite Park, incoming LMC president and Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis city council member, outgoing LMC president.

Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson, second from left, receives the C.C. Ludwig award from the League of Minnesota Cities. The award is considered to be the League’s highest honor for elected officials. Pictured are Dave Osberg, left, administrator for the city of Eagan, incoming LMC first vice president; Marvin Johnson; Shaunna Johnson, administrator for the city of Waite Park, incoming LMC president and Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis city council member, outgoing LMC president.

Mayor Marvin Johnson of Independence has won the 2013 C.C. Ludwig Award from the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) — an award  considered to be the League’s highest honor for elected officials.

The city of Independence will host a reception to honor Johnson from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23, at Independence City Hall, 1920 County Road 90, just prior to the regular City Council meeting for July.

Established in 1962, the C.C. Ludwig Award is named for a former League executive director, and the award is given annually in celebration of outstanding service. Recipients are chosen for their vision, statesmanship, and unwavering commitment to the public good.

Johnson has served as mayor for 33 years and served as a city council member in Independence prior to that. According to his nominators, “The evidence of his leadership within our community can be easily demonstrated by his amazing tenure, but more accurately by the quality of life in the community he has worked so hard to build and sustain.”

Johnson is a past president of the League of Minnesota Cities and of the Minnesota Mayors Association. Additionally, he has served on steering committees for the National League of Cities as well as a number of regional coalitions and commissions dealing with local government issues.

Marvin Johnson, left, takes his oath of office for mayor of the city of Independence in January 2012. Two Independence City Councilors, Norm Wenck, center, and Brad Fisher, right, take their oaths of office at the same time. Johnson has served as Independence Mayor for 33 years. (Sun Press file photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

Marvin Johnson, left, takes his oath of office for mayor of the city of Independence in January 2012. Two Independence City Councilors, Norm Wenck, center, and Brad Fisher, right, take their oaths of office at the same time. Johnson has served as Independence Mayor for 33 years. (Sun Press file photo by Susan Van Cleaf)

The 2013 Leadership Award nominations were judged by a panel of past League of Minnesota Cities presidents, including Del Haag, former council member for the city of Buffalo; Todd Prafke, city administrator for the city of St. Peter and Mark Voxland, mayor of the city of Moorhead.

The League of Minnesota Cities is a nonprofit, membership organization that serves its more than 830 members through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.

A number of prominent area citizens wrote letters of recommendation to the LMC asking that Johnson receive the C.C. Ludwig award. Here are some snippets from their letters.

• Jim Ramstad, former Third District Congressman, “Mayor Johnson personifies the best in public service and has worked tirelessly for his constituents and many groups and organizations that support quality education, public safety, 4-H, local units of government, agriculture, transportation, job and economic growth, energy, the environment, senior citizens, people in need and many other important causes…

“Mayor Marvin Johnson exemplifies what it means to be a ‘servant leader.’ He has always put service ahead of self in the many leadership positions he has held.”

• Leah Weycker, executive director, Western Communities Action Network, “I cannot attend a community event without seeing Marvin. His dedication to many groups serving a broad section of the community is amazing. The Gillespie Senior Center, the Orono Healthy Communities Healthy Youth group and the Community Action Partnership for Suburban Hennepin County, to name a few, all benefit from Marvin’s commitment to the community.”

• Gail Sinkel, Delano Senior Center coordinator, “Thirty-one years ago, the seniors in Delano and the surrounding communities had a vision to build a senior center. The Mayors of Delano and Independence (Marvin Johnson) joined forces to make this happen. It was Mayor Johnson who suggested this group write a Community Development Block Grant program through Hennepin County to secure funding to help remodel a facility in the city of Delano. This idea took a lot of communication, persuasion, political skill and trust from Mayor Johnson to secure Hennepin County CDBG funds to be used in Wright County, but to serve seniors in Delano and Western Hennepin County. This effort took exemplary negotiating skills… Mayor Johnson had these skills!”

• Kevin Paap, president, Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, “Marvin is an effective advocate for cities and for farmers. He has the unique ability to bring the perspectives of a city mayor into discussions on agricultural issues and vice versa… Marvin Johnson goes the extra mile in providing service to his community and the organizations and causes he believes in.”

• Gen Olson, former State Senator, District 33, “He is a ‘people person’ who cares about others, is there to give a helping hand or stops to visit, as he does regularly, people in local senior, nursing care or rehabilitation facilities, leading church services at one, providing transportation to church for residents of another. He treats people respectfully even when he may not agree with them on a matter.”

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