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Representative Bob Steinburg receives PBA's highest honor

 
 
On July 30th, the North Carolina Police Benevolent Association presented their “Legislative Excellence” award to Representative Bob Steinburg in the House Chambers.  Rep. Steinburg has been a tireless advocate for prison reform and correctional officers. His efforts led to an increase to the survivor benefit for law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty from $50,000 to $100,000.  It would also make correctional officers eligible for the same benefit and be retroactive to cover the deaths of the officers from Bertie and Pasquotank Correctional Institutes.  Upon receiving this award, Steinburg said, “I consider this award to be the highest honor of my legislative career to date. It not only humbles me but at the same time inspires me to continue the fight no matter what, knowing the PBA has got my back.”
 
Rep. Steinburg was born and raised in Oswego, New York, a city of about 18,000 people in upstate New York on the shores of Lake Ontario. His dad worked for the local newspaper and his mom worked for a bank.  He has three brothers. 
 
Steinburg is an Episcopalian and served as an altar boy from the time he was eight through high school.  He was also involved in church youth groups. According to him, “Those Christian values were all around me and have remained with me to this day. I was taught the difference between right and wrong and how important it was to look out for others less fortunate than myself. I always identified with the underdogs and would not tolerate anyone bullying someone who could not stand up for themselves. My role models were my parents, clergy, men, women and friends of good will.”
 
While in high school, he was involved in various clubs and played basketball, football, tennis and track. He graduated from Oswego High School in 1966.  After high school, he attended Corning Community College and was elected President of the student body. He graduated in 1969 with an Associate Degree. He also attended Murray State University and Morehead State University in Kentucky and eventually earned his B. S. degree in 1990 from Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa.
 
Steinburg has been married his to wife, Marie, for forty-six years. He will readily tell you that his decision to marry her ultimately proved to be the best decision he ever made. Marie is also from Oswego and was from a very large second generation Italian family. “Marie continues to be very strong in her faith and has been the rock of our family,” according to Steinburg.  He likes to use a quote from Lou Gehrig to summarize his marriage…“Today I consider myself the luckiest guy on the face of the earth.” Steinburg and Marie have two children, Bobby and Greg, and two grandchildren, Julia (age 8) and Anthony (age 5). 
 
 
Steinburg first worked in radio as a disc jockey before spending most of his career in sales and marketing. His stops along the way included national companies like the Russell Stover Candy Company and Keepsake Diamond Rings (the A. H. Pond Company).  He is currently the founder and owner of the WolfeStein Group, LLC, a sports marketing company.
 
In 1977, he and Marie discovered Edenton and northeastern North Carolina when the area became part of his sales territory. Steinburg says, “We liked the people, the values and the patriotism that abounded here then and does to this day. Neighbor helping neighbor. This region of the state is the best of rural America. We are proud to call it and North Carolina home.”
 
Every elected official has those that have inspired them along the way.  Steinburg is no different. His first political hero was President Dwight Eisenhower, and President Ronald Reagan was another. He states, “I admired their steely resolve and leadership. Reagan’s ability to connect with the people resonated with me. I admired Jesse Helms when he was in the U. S. Senate for his fiery tenacity. His autobiography was a fascinating read. I also deeply admired the late Billy Graham for his God given ability to bring millions to Christ. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor and theologian in Hitler's Nazi Germany was one of the most courageous men of the 20th Century,” Steinburg added. “Bonhoefferis a must read.”
 
When Steinburg was asked why he chose to enter politics, he replied, “There are those who strive to be a politician, to have a career in politics for reasons both good and bad. I see myself as a public servant with no other goal than to serve others, to right wrongs, to eradicate evil and corruption and to bring opportunity to those who have little or none.”
 
Rep. Steinburg took up the cause of prison reform after the murder of Sgt. Meggan Callahan in April of 2017.  He has been a leading voice in the General Assembly on this issue and has immersed himself in trying to solve a crisis of epidemic proportions.  When asked why prison reform is so important to him, he stated the following: “Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation that we would never have envisioned. The events of last April at Bertie and then six short months later in Pasquotank changed everything. These monstrous acts of barbarism in my backyard touched me in ways so profound I cannot even begin to describe them other than to say I would do all in my power to help ensure nothing like this would ever happen again. First it was the personal interaction with the families, friends, co-workers; seeing the hurt and pain up close and personal and then beginning to learn this didn't have to happen. I began to dig in and ask questions and that led to throngs of individuals coming forward and putting their trust in me by pointing out conditions within the hierarchy of the Department of Corrections and many of the individual institutions as well. There appeared to be no trust or confidence in management by the rank and file, and procedures and protocols were lax. Correction Officers felt no one had their backs and that the inmates and their lackeys were in fact running the institutions. Gang activity was ever growing. I then began to hear from inmates who were writing to say they felt the prisons were out of control and that if something weren't done and soon, another murderous incident was inevitable. Most sided with the Correction Officers and feared for them. The Department of Corrections is so broken, I knew someone had to step up to the plate and do something.  I will not rest until we have achieved meaningful prison reform, so help me God.”
 
During this process, Steinburg developed a close relationship with the PBA and assisting them and their members. Steinburg states “The PBA reached out to me and has worked with me every step of the way to provide me with expertise, guidance, encouragement, support and historical context of the inner workings of our prison system. They are committed to righting the ship once and for all. The PBA has a strong membership with good people who really care about their brothers and sisters in law enforcement and their families. I consider myself to be blessed to have the wonderful working relationship I have with the PBA leadership and its members.”

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