Gov. Hunt to receive Champion of Justice Award

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RALEIGH — Former Gov. Jim Hunt of Wilson will receive a Champion of Justice Award at the North Carolina Justice Center’s 20th anniversary gala Sept. 10.

Hunt will receive the award “for his work on behalf of North Carolina’s students, families and communities,” according to the group. With four terms under his belt, Hunt is the state’s longest-serving governor. He previously served as lieutenant governor under Gov. James Holshouser.

Hunt chairs the Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy and is chairman emeritus of the Institute for Emerging Issues.

Founded in 1996, the North Carolina Justice Center is a progressive research and advocacy group seeking to eliminate poverty in the state.

“The pursuit of justice requires we all perform our duty and obligation in that quest, generation to generation,” Executive Director Rick Glazier said in a statement. “In doing so, we also honor those who set the path, light the way and lead by the deepest and purest of examples.”

Other honorees receiving the Champion of Justice Award are James Andrews, president of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO, state Rep. Henry “Mickey” Michaux Jr., former University of North Carolina System leader Tom Ross and former Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation head Leslie Winner, who also served in the state Senate.

The group also will present the Executive Director’s Award for Service to I. Beverly Lake Jr., former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, for his work in creating the nation’s first actual innocence commission and advocating for reforms of the criminal justice system.

From staff reports