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BPC Honors Legislators, Election Administrators for Courage and Commitment to Democracy

Yesterday, the Bipartisan  Policy  Center presented the 2021 Legislative Action Awards during a virtual reception and conversation focused on the current challenges and the importance of bipartisanship as a catalyst for durable solutions. BPC also held a special presentation of its Patriot Award to honor America’s state and local election administrators for their decades of hard work and commitment to public service — attributes that were on display in last year’s elections.

BPC established the Legislative Action Award to acknowledge creative and courageous members who breathe life into the legislative process. The award is given to members who demonstrate the skill, grace, and tenacity to foster bipartisanship in a time when it is most needed.

“The six recipients of BPC’s 2021 Legislative Action Awards have demonstrated the courage, creativity, and determination required to make progress in a divided Congress,” said Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Most Americans want Congress to work. BPC is proud to acknowledge these six legislators who have demonstrated the leadership required to get things done for the American people.”

This year’s Legislative Action Award recipients:

  • Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • Sen. Todd Young (R-IN)
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE)
  • Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
  • Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN)

This year’s Patriot Award, traditionally given to current or former members Congress—one Democrat and one Republican—who have performed patriotic deeds worthy of remembrance, honors all our election officials from across the country for their political courage and exceptional leadership, in some of our nation’s most partisan times. BPC presented the 2021 award to Maggie Toulouse Oliver, president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and R. Kyle Ardoin, president-elect of the National Association of Secretaries of State, on behalf of state and local election administrators across the country.

“America’s state and local election officials worked tirelessly to ensure a fair and accurate election process,” said BPC founder and former Sen. Tom Daschle. “Their ability to adapt quickly to unprecedented circumstances is a testament to the skill and commitment of these unheralded public servants.”

Remarks by the 2021 Legislative Action Award recipients

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH): “When we work across the aisle, we can find lasting solutions to pressing challenges. That’s the approach I’ve always tried to take, including by working across party lines to help end surprise medical billing, keep Americans safe, secure, and free, and support veterans. I am grateful to the Bipartisan Policy Center for helping to bring people together from across the aisle to get things done. Additionally, it is an honor to receive this award with Senator Young, with whom I’ve worked on a range of important priorities, including introducing legislation to expand the R&D tax credit and provide more support to students. I will continue to prioritize bipartisanship and finding common ground as we work to address the biggest challenges facing our country.”

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): “After my time in the military, I came to Capitol Hill to make a difference for Hoosiers. In a closely divided Congress, the opportunity to get meaningful legislation signed into law is next to impossible without taking the time to work across the aisle to identify bipartisan solutions. I am honored to receive the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Legislative Action Award and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to advance wins for Hoosiers.”

Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE): “In these contentious times, it is more important than ever to reach across the political aisle and work on legislation to confront problems facing Americans every day. While Members of Congress may verbally spar over language or ideas, we can rise above and engage with those of the opposite party on bipartisan legislation. I thank the Bipartisan Policy Center for their recognition of my work to do just that. Finding areas of consensus is more important than ever if Congress is going to tackle the nation’s most pressing challenges.”

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE): “My philosophy since coming to Congress has always been working with members, no matter their ideological background, to get things done for the people of Delaware. I’m honored to receive the Legislative Action Award from the Bipartisan Policy Center along with my colleagues from across the aisle.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): “During my time in Congress, I’ve worked to forge relationships with colleagues across the aisle in order to be an effective representative to the people I serve in Illinois. Bipartisanship is essential to delivering results for the American people, but also shows a shared commitment to putting the interests of the country first, for the greater good. I’m honored to receive the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Legislative Action Award and want to thank the Selection Committee for this recognition. I’d also like to extend my congratulations to my fellow recipients in Congress, Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester, Don Bacon, and Dean Phillips and Senators Todd Young and Maggie Hassan. While we have many challenges and disagreements in this country, our democracy depends on our ability to work together.”

Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN): “Throughout my 30-year career in business and philanthropy, I witnessed hundreds of organizations throughout the world—but none were so utterly dysfunctional as our Congress. I recognize that the best policy ideas are the result of principled debate and thoughtful compromise and I am honored to receive the BPC’s Legislative Action Award. I will continue to pursue common sense ideas for the common good, inspire a new era of collaboration Congress, and restore Americans’ faith in government – especially as we emerge from a once-in-a-generation crisis.”

Remarks by Secretaries Oliver and Ardoin:

Secretary Maggie Toulouse Oliver: “On behalf of election officials at all levels around the nation, it is truly an honor to receive the Patriot Award alongside my colleague, and dear friend, Secretary Ardoin. I am humbled and grateful for this recognition of the work that so many people do to make sure our democracy is secure. The work of government is the work of bringing people together to solve problems, despite our differences. My goal, since I started as a county clerk, has simply been to make voting easy and secure and to find ways to bring more transparency and accountability to government so that people can be more engaged and make better decisions. Being the recipient of an honor like the Patriot Award puts into even greater focus why I do this work and where we can all go from here.”

Secretary R. Kyle Ardoin: “I want to thank everyone for this opportunity, I’m especially thankful to represent Louisiana, Louisiana election workers, and election workers from across our great country. In accepting this award from the Bipartisan Policy Center and to humbly joining the notable past honorees of the patriot award, along with my colleague, Secretary Oliver of New Mexico. A further place to continue the level of excellence that this award is founded upon, and will work to provide our state and country with a strong defense of our electoral system.”

Watch the ceremony and discussion.