Kilmer Honored for Work to Reform Congress

Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) has been awarded the inaugural “Teddy Roosevelt Courage Award” by Issue One, a leading cross-partisan political reform organization, for his efforts to fight to fix the broken political system and secure American elections. The Teddy Roosevelt Courage Award is given in the spirit of the 26th president of the United States who was a staunch defender of good, ethical government and the U.S. political system.

In receiving the award, Kilmer was recognized for his leadership in chairing the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, a committee tasked with identifying reforms to Congress more responsive to the needs of the American people. In addition, Issue One highlighted Kilmer’s leadership on campaign finance reform and working to reduce the role of money in politics.

“For a long time, folks have been justifiably frustrated with the performance of the government. There’s been too much money, too many special interests, and too little accountability. I’m working every day to fix that and ensure Congress takes concrete steps toward creating a government that works better for the American people,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m honored to receive this award and I thank Issue One for supporting the ongoing efforts to modernize Congress and get our government back on track.”

“It’s hard to find profiles in courage in Congress these days because our political environment doesn’t reward it,” said Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee. “But Congressman Kilmer continues to step up and tackle the hard issues like fixing our broken political system and making Congress work better for all Americans. That’s why he deserved the Teddy Roosevelt Courage Award.”

“Congressman Kilmer is an example of what real bipartisanship in this town is all about,” said former Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN), Co-Chair of the ReFormers Caucus. “We need more leaders like him.”

“Nothing could be more important to the American people than the work that Chairman Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Vice Chair Tom Graves (R-GA) are doing with the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress,” said former Ambassador Tim Roemer (D-IN), Co-Chair of the ReFormers Caucus.

“Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have consistently reached across the aisle and championed political reform when Washington is at its most divided. They are working to rebuild public trust in our great experiment of self-government at a time when it is cratering,” said Issue One CEO Nick Penniman. “Every day, Americans yearn for leadership and evidence that their concerns about our broken political system are being heard. These four leaders are listening and working in a bipartisan fashion to protect our elections, fix our politics, and modernize Congress. Issue One is proud to work with them to strengthen our democracy as they carry on the tenacious spirit of the 26th president.” 

Kilmer has taken the lead in Congress on campaign finance reform and continues to push for legislation that would improve transparency, create publicly financed elections, and fix the commission charged with enforcing federal election laws.

He co-sponsored and voted to pass H.R. 1, the For the People Act of 2019, a sweeping package of reform bills aimed at strengthening the voice of the American people in their democracy by making it easier to vote, reducing the role of big money in the political process, and ensuring public officials work for the public interest. This comprehensive reform package includes two bipartisan bills led by Representative Kilmer, the Honest Ads Act and the Resorting Integrity to America’s Election Act, which aim to increase transparency in our campaign finance and election laws. 

Kilmer also served as an original co-sponsor of the SHIELD Act, legislation to combat foreign interference in American elections by closing loopholes that allow foreign spending in our elections, boosting disclosure and transparency requirements with the inclusion of Kilmer’s Honest Ads Act, and creating a duty to report illicit offers of campaign assistance from foreign nations or governments.

Kilmer was appointed in January to serve as the Chair of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which was created by an overwhelming bipartisan vote at the beginning of the 116th Congress to produce recommendations to promote a more modern and efficient Congress. The Select Committee has issued 29 recommendations to increase transparency in Congress by making congressional operations and legislative updates more accessible and understandable for the American people; improve the way Members of Congress can communicate and connect with their constituents; increasing staff retention on Capitol Hill; improve accessibility in the House for Americans with disabilities, and; overhaul the current onboarding and education processes for new and current Members of Congress. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to extend the Select Committee through the end of the next calendar year to continue its work delivering bipartisan reforms to make Congress work better for the American people.

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