Wednesday, 02 September 2020 11:29

Former legislator, Hamlet lawyer Melanie Goodwin dies following decade-long cancer battle

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RALEIGH — Former N.C. state representative Melanie Goodwin has passed away after an 11-year battle with cancer.

Her husband, Wayne Goodwin — also a former representative, insurance commissioner and currently chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party — made the announcement on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.

The two were married for 22 years and had two children.

“We knew we were meant to be married by the time of our third date and often received a combination of eye-rolls and smiles from folks who witnessed our frequent public displays of affection — sneaking a kiss now a then, sometimes waltzing, or always holding hands — both in the halls of the legislature and the aisles of the Food Lion,” Wayne Goodwin said. “She is the love of my life. And I'm better in every way because of Melanie.”

Melanie Goodwin was featured in a post by Visit Richmond County for Women’s Month back in March.

According to that post, she graduated from Campbell Law School in 2000 and opened a practice in Hamlet that she ran for a decade.

“As an attorney, Melanie represented families in court torn by divorce or who were victims of domestic violence, and she helped workers hurt on the job,” Wayne Goodwin said.

Two years later, she was elected as the first woman to represent Richmond and Montgomery counties in the N.C. House of Representatives.

According to the Visit Richmond County Post, she was also the first female state legislator to give birth while in office.

“Her second born, a son, actually went to work with his mother at 11 days old, which led to Speaker Joe Hackney creating a room for parents visiting the legislative building to change and feed their infants,” the post reads.

“Melanie sponsored legislation that strengthened investments in public education and in rural communities, helped improve public health and the courts system, and she always, always, always stood up for women's rights and women's health,” Wayne Goodwin said.

He added that his wife brought both of their children to the legislature where they “witnessed their strong mother, a leader, stand up for other children, families, women, and the voiceless.”

“Melanie also made an important mark as chair of the House Election Laws and Campaign Reform Committee where she brought about progressive, good government, voter-friendly changes to our laws,” her husband continued. “She was instrumental in passage of laws that improved the integrity of elections and of the campaign process.”

In 2019, Melanie Goodwin was appointed chief deputy commissioner of the N.C. Industrial Commission.

“There she again used her skills and the law to hear cases, and make rulings that were fair, just, grounded in the law, and empathetic to the parties appearing before her,” Wayne Goodwin said.

In addition to her time in the legislature and Industrial Commission, Melanie Goodiwn also worked with the N.C. Council for Women, and served as president of Rockingham Jr. Women’s Club, president of Richmond County Democratic Women, was a member of the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, a member of the Richmond County Arts Council, a member of Friends of the Library, a founding board member of the Christian Closet and a County Commissioner appointee of the Sandhills Area Mental Health Board.

“Melanie succeeded in so many things — as a mother, wife, daughter, friend, lawyer, legislator, public servant, citizen — that I cannot recount them all,” Wayne Goodwin said. “What I can say is that she was an incredible, awesome role model for our children, her nieces, and nephews, and young women seeking to change the world for the better.”


Last modified on Wednesday, 02 September 2020 11:36