FRENCH LICK — The Ninth District Democratic Party, in conjunction with the 140th Indiana Democratic Editorial Association (I.D.E.A.) convention, held its annual Lee H. Hamilton Dinner as the finale event of the conference on Saturday at the French Lick Springs Resort Hotel.

The dinner featured speakers such as former Clinton Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, Congressman Frank Mrvan, and Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.

As a centerpiece of the event, former Ninth District Democratic Party Vice Chair Martha Nice was honored as the recipient of the 2021 Lee H. Hamilton Public Service Award.

Named in honor of former Ninth District Congressman Lee H. Hamilton, this award recognizes individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to public service and the Democratic Party.

“Martha Nice’s career in public service and politics has spanned over 50 years and includes tenure as a Congressional aide, an appointed representative, and party leader,” said District Chair Adam Dickey. “In addition, Nice’s longstanding service as a public-school educator and community volunteer, sets a profound example of service and leadership.”

Nice served as Executive Assistant and Press Secretary to Congressman David Cornwell from 1976 to 1978 before going on to serve as U.S. Senator Birch Bayh’s Southern State Coordinator. In this later role, she participated in the flood disaster recovery effort and relocation of English. Nice also served for over 35 years as an educator with the Paoli Community School Corporation and retired in 2015 as the Director of Academic Enrichment Programs.

“Martha continues to embrace the responsibility of public service and civic participation,” noted Dickey. “She fundamentally believes each of us needs to find our own way of helping to make our community better and she works to bridge the divide that exists between community members to keep that purpose central to our civic work.”

Orange County Democratic Party Chair Brandy Terrell agreed with Dickey’s assessment.

“Martha has served her hometown and our state in more ways than any one person can know – Martha included,” said Terrell. “She never quits and is an amazing mentor and friend.”

Nice has held various leadership roles in the Orange County Democratic Party and served from 2013 until 2021 as the Ninth District Democratic Party Vice Chair. She has continued her civic involvement since retirement as the President of the Orange County Convention and Visitors Bureau, as a member of the Paoli Plan Commission, and on the Board of the Southern Indiana Community Health Center and the WTIU’s Community Advisory Board. She also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Relay for Life.

Nice has also been recognized by the Indiana State Teachers Association, the National Education Association and the Indiana Association for Gifted Leadership for her outstanding contributions to her local community and is a past recipient of the Ethel and Fred Crowe Outstanding Teacher Award.

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