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Five RI civic leaders receive the 2019 National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Medallion Award

PROVIDENCE, RI – Secretary of State Nellie M. Gorbea today recognized H. Philip West, Navyn Salem, Clifford Montiero, Community Angels, Inc. and Millennial RI with the 2019 NASS Medallion Award at a ceremony held this afternoon at the State House.

"I've long said that the best public policy comes when there is a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and perspectives around the policy making table. Rhode Island is fortunate enough to have such a diverse selection of community leaders," Secretary Gorbea said. "Leaders who inspire Rhode Islanders from all walks of life into taking an active role in their community. Today's honorees remind us all that the diversity in our Rhode Island experience is a powerful tool as we seek to build a better Rhode Island."

About the award recipients: H. Philip West served as the executive director of Common Cause for nearly two decades. His work brought about significant legislative reforms in the mid 1990s and separation of powers in the mid 2000s.

Navyn Salem is the founder and CEO of Edesia Nutrition, a non-profit manufacturer of nutritional products designed to combat childhood malnutrition all over the world. Salem has helped save the lives millions of children while creating meaningful good-paying jobs for many Rhode Islanders.

Clifford Montiero has been working to advance civil rights in Rhode Island since he was a teenager. Montiero led the Providence chapter of the NAACP for more than a decade and has been an outspoken champion for civic engagement and voter participation in Rhode Island throughout his life.

Millennial RI has been an active voice in the Rhode Island community on the issues that are important to an entire generation. Their advocacy and network continue to ensure that countless young people #ChooseRI when planning their future.

Los Angeles de la Comunidad (the Community Angels) is a grass roots organization founded by the late Laura Rodríguez in Providence's South Side. The group has been instrumental in their local community– hosting voter registration drives, food drives and one of the largest Holiday Toy and Coat drives in the state.

The NASS Medallion award was created by the National Association of Secretaries of State to recognize outstanding public service and civic engagement. Secretaries of State are given the opportunity to award up to five NASS Medallions each year to individuals and organizations who have demonstrated remarkable civic leadership in their state. Founded in 1904, the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) is the oldest nonpartisan, professional association of public officials in the United States.


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  • Department or agency: Office of the Secretary of State
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  • Release date: 02-27-2019

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