The National Association of Government Communicators named Kerri Richardson, director of communications for Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, Communicator of the Year on June 12 for her PR work in rolling out the Affordable Care Act in the Republican-leaning state.
Beshear nominated his communications director for the award, which was presented at the NAGC's Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards at the National Press Club on Thursday.
"[Richardson] not only helped me create the message to win support for our decisions statewide, but also elevated our work to the national stage," said Beshear, a Red State Democrat who oversaw one of Obamacare's most successful rollouts.
Richardson, a former TV reporter, led a five-member PR team with Louisville agency Doe-Anderson to launch Kentucky's health insurance exchange, Kynect.
Canada's Rocky View County Communications won best in show honors from among 325 entries at the NAGC awards for a shoestring campaign improving public perception of local government. The "Changing the Face of Local Government" campaign, submitted in the promotional category with a budget of less than $100K, put "humility and a sense of humor on government communication," said NAGC president-elect Kathryn Strokes of the Mississippi Dept. of Employment Security.
The US Geological Survey and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission were the top winners announced at the National Press Club with 11 awards each. Annapolis-based Crosby Marketing Communications said it picked up six awards for work with the Social Security Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Full list of winners is at nagconline.org.