(June 23, 2023 – St. Paul, MN)
City of Marshall Mayor Robert Byrnes was named the League of Minnesota Cities’ 2023 C.C. Ludwig Award recipient yesterday at the League’s Annual Conference in Duluth. The C.C. Ludwig Award is the League’s top honor for elected officials.
Byrnes has served as Marshall’s mayor since 1992. Throughout his tenure, Byrnes has epitomized servant leadership and has turned problems into opportunities for Marshall and the surrounding area.
In 1993, Marshall experienced three major rain events on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Independence Day – all of which caused flooding, damage, and worry among residents. Byrnes advocated for his city by testifying in front of a U.S. House committee in 1995 to secure additional funding for critical infrastructure improvements in flood control that have protected the city from catastrophic flooding since.
Byrnes’ leadership was also vital in the implementation of a local-option sales tax in 2013, which made the construction of the Red Baron Arena and Expo possible. The same local-option sales tax allowed for the expansion of the MERIT Center, a 53-acre regional fire and rescue training facility that offers training opportunities to municipal emergency responders as well as private industrial emergency responders.
As chair of the MNDOT Area Transportation Board, Byrnes has advocated for crucial roads and bridges and has focused on stopping deadly crashes along Minnesota Highway 23 by pushing for J-turn intersections, passing lanes, and the pedestrian overpass. Byrnes is also an active member and mentor on the Southwest Minnesota Council of Mayors where he has advocated for higher education and workforce development opportunities for the entire region.
Byrnes also serves on the Board of Directors for the Southwest Regional Development Commission; was past chair of the Board of Directors of Prairieland Economic Development Corporation; and Board Member of Habitat for Humanity of Redwood River.
The C.C. Ludwig Award is named for a former League executive director and is the League’s highest award for elected officials. Established in 1962, the award is presented annually in celebration of outstanding service. Recipients are chosen for their vision, statesmanship, and unwavering commitment to the public good.
The League of Minnesota Cities is a membership organization dedicated to helping cities throughout Minnesota build quality communities through effective advocacy, expert analysis, trusted guidance, and collective action. The League serves its 838 member cities through advocacy, education and training, policy development, risk management, and other services.