The Massachusetts Democratic Party has named Congressman Jim McGovern and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu as this year’s recipients of the Party’s Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards. Bestowed annually upon two distinguished Democrats, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Awards are the highest honors presented by the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Congressman McGovern and Councilor Wu will be honored at the Party’s Annual Roosevelt Award Dinner on Wednesday, May 31st at the Omni Parker House in Boston.
“As leaders in our state and national Democratic Party, Congressman McGovern and Council President Wu are continuing the fight to build on the New Deal agenda started by President and Mrs. Roosevelt,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. “From creating new jobs and guaranteeing paid parental leave to fighting against hunger and discrimination, Congressman McGovern and Council President Wu are bringing forward new ideas of how to move Massachusetts and our nation forward.”
“Massachusetts families know that our communities are strongest when we lift up those in need. Thanks to the New Deal signed by President Roosevelt, millions of Americans were able to rise out of poverty and reach the middle class,” said Congressman McGovern. “Strengthening the social safety net is essential to building a growing economy where every family has a chance to get ahead. I am incredibly humbled by this award and will continue to work with our delegation in Congress to ensure we never stop fighting for the least among us.”
“It is incredibly humbling to receive a recognition in honor of one of the strongest champions for inclusion and equality in our country’s history. Today’s Massachusetts Democrats continue to march forward with these same values, and I’m proud to work alongside grassroots activists and leaders building a brighter future for our cities and towns across the Commonwealth,” said Councilor Wu. “In the face of threats and divisiveness from a regressive Republican Party and President, it’s more important than ever for Democrats to stand up and stand together — we are stronger when everyone has access to opportunity and when we invest in the next generation.”
First elected to Congress in 1996, Congressman McGovern has earned a national reputation as a tireless advocate for his district and as a champion for food security, human rights, campaign finance reform, social justice, and peace. Currently serving his eleventh term in Congress, McGovern serves as the second ranking Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee, which sets the terms for debate and amendments on most legislation and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee.
Over the past twenty years, McGovern has consistently delivered millions of dollars for jobs, vital local and regional projects, small businesses, public safety, regional and mass transportation projects, and affordable housing around Massachusetts. McGovern has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education, to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities, and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves. A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care and giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals.
McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility. McGovern has also taken a leadership role in the fight against hunger at home and abroad, successfully expanding the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which helps alleviate child hunger and poverty by providing nutritious meals to children in schools in the world’s poorest countries. McGovern is one of the leading voices in Congress fighting to overturn Citizens United, and has become one of the main advocates in the fight against corporate personhood.
City Council President Michelle Wu has been a voice for accessibility, transparency, and community engagement in city leadership. First elected to the Boston City Council in November 2013 at the age of 28, Wu is the first Asian-American woman to serve on the Council. In January 2016, she was elected President of the City Council by her colleagues in a unanimous vote, becoming the first woman of color to serve as Council President.
Councilor Wu was the lead sponsor of Boston’s Paid Parental Leave ordinance and Healthcare Equity ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity, both of which passed unanimously through the Council and were signed into law by Mayor Martin J. Walsh. She also authored Boston’s Communications Access ordinance, which guarantees translation, interpretation, and assistive technology for access to city services regardless of English language proficiency or communications disability. To promote economic development, she also introduced a successful ordinance to end the city’s ban on BYOB for small neighborhood restaurants and the “Boston Unplugged” ordinance to eliminate all permits and fees for small businesses in commercial districts to host acoustic performances. In addition to being an advocate for local business, Wu has been an active proponent of more walkable streets, cycling infrastructure, and investment in the T.
Wu got her start in City Hall working for Mayor Thomas M. Menino as a Rappaport Fellow in Law and Public Policy, where she created the city’s first guide to the restaurant permitting process from start to finish, and was also a driving force to launch Boston’s food truck program. She later served as statewide Constituency Director in the U.S. Senate campaign of her former law professor, Elizabeth Warren.
McGovern and Wu join exclusive company with this prestigious award. Previous Franklin Roosevelt Award recipients include: U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, U.S. Senator John Kerry, U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Governor Michael Dukakis, Congressman Richie Neal, Congressman Joe Kennedy II, Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III, Congressman Barney Frank, Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Ambassador Alan Solomont, former State Senator Steve Panagiotakos, former State Representative and Democratic Party Chair Phil Johnston, Bobby Haynes, Paul Egerman, and Marc Solomon. Former Eleanor Roosevelt Award recipients include: Congresswoman Katherine Clark, Attorney General Martha Coakley, Senate President Therese Murray, former Treasurer Shannon O’Brien, former State Representative Lida Harkins, Veronica Turner, Barbara Lee, Carol Fulp, Lynda Tocci, Nancy O’Connor Stolberg, Shanti Fry, and Agnes Ricko.