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July 3, 2024

Pressley Wins Prestigious ‘Democracy Award’ for Constituent Accountability & Accessibility

Congressional Management Foundation Recognizes Pressley for Outstanding Achievement

BOSTON – The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) announced that Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) is a winner for a Democracy Award, CMF’s annual awards recognizing non-legislative achievement and performance in congressional offices. Rep. Pressley, a former staffer for Senator John Kerry and Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II, was selected as a winner for outstanding achievement in the category of Constituent Accountability & Accessibility.

In May, Rep. Pressley was selected as a finalist for Constituent Accountability & Accessibility, and in 2023, she was selected as a finalist in the category of Life in Congress: Workplace Environment in 2023.

“This award is a testament to my outstanding staff in Boston and DC who care deeply about our district and our constituents who call the Massachusetts 7th home,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “As a former Congressional staffer, I know how critical accessibility and accountability are. We humbly aim to restore folks’ faith in government daily – and I am so fortunate to work with a team committed to doing just that and dedicated to challenging ourselves to do more and do better each day. Together, we look forward to continuing to build meaningful relationships with folks from every corner of our district and work hard to deliver for our communities.”

“Winning a Democracy Award means that Rep. Ayanna Pressley is setting the highest standard in public service,” said Bradford Fitch, President & CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. “Being accessible and accountable to constituents is a fundamental requirement for rebuilding trust in our system of government. Rep. Pressley is to be commended for excelling in this category and has clearly created a culture in her office that fosters this kind of trust-building with constituents.”

Seven House and Senate offices were honored as winners in four categories: Constituent Service; Constituent Accountability and Accessibility; Innovation and Modernization; and “Life in Congress”- Workplace Environment. House and Senate personal offices nominated themselves using an online questionnaire, after which CMF interviewed offices and gathered documentation to assess the office’s adherence to the established criteria. The winners were selected in June by an external selection committee primarily comprised of former Members of Congress and congressional staff. The finalists and winners will be honored at a ceremony to be held in Washington, D.C. on September 26, 2024. 

“After experiencing the trauma of the Boston Marathon bombing, I reached out to Congresswoman Pressley’s office to share my story of feeling invisible due to the lack of resources to address the mental health wounds that myself and so many others were experiencing,” said Manya Chylinski, constituent, advocate, and survivor of the Boston Marathon attack. “Her office was very responsive and we worked hand-in-hand to draft and ultimately pass the Post-Disaster Mental Health Response Act. I never imagined that my experience could inform federal policy but working with Rep. Pressley’s office showed me what’s possible when lawmakers are truly accountable to their constituents. I’m thrilled it’s been signed into law, because this validates that there are very real mental and emotional health wounds after disaster, and it provides much needed support for survivors.”

“Congresswoman Pressley is a champion for labor who sees our workers as full people with busy lives and caregiving responsibilities,” said Darlene Lombos, President of the Greater Boston Labor Council. “Offering on-site childcare at her events has been a game-changer for accessibility that has helped workers and families participate fully in our democracy. She thinks deeply and strategically about the work she does to push for equity, justice, and accessibility, and she always has our backs here and across the country.”

“Congresswoman Pressley shows what it means to lead by empathy and inclusion. She is a leading ally to the disability community, ensuring involvement of the community in all of her work. I was especially impressed by her leadership at the height of the pandemic as more people became disabled due to Long Covid. She hosted roundtable discussions and had community members give input on her bills before introducing them on the floor. Congresswoman Pressley has shown time and again that listening is key to leadership and is one of the disability community’s most faithful allies in Congress,” said Mia Ives-Rublee, Director for the Disability Justice Initiative at Center for American Progress.

“With my work permit acceptance letter delayed, I was unable to receive pay from my employer and my bills began to pile up,” said Santi, a constituent and Chelsea resident. “Luckily, Congresswoman Pressley’s team assisted and guided me through the process. Her team was efficient and super responsive, so my worries of potential denial subsided. They were able to inform me step-by-step on how everything was proceeding and I ultimately had my work permit approved. I’m grateful for her team’s responsiveness and to have her representing our community in Congress.”

Details on the process and the history of the Democracy Awards can be found here:

CMF cited the following as reasons for selecting Rep. Pressley as winner for an award:

“The office of Rep. Ayanna Pressley aims to practice “cooperative governing” and “keeping those closest to the pain closest to the power.” This model of governing informs every interaction that the office has with constituents. The office ensures that videos are captioned and photos include “alt-text” for constituents with hearing and visual impairments, and it is standard practice to use CART or live ASL translation for public community events. Finally, the office has inculcated into staff a mentality to look for and create access to constituents where barriers could exist. This includes language barriers, physically accessibility issues, even providing child care services at events so parents can attend.”

The Congressional Management Foundation (CMF) is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan nonprofit founded in 1977 dedicated to strengthening Congress and building trust in its work with and for the American people. CMF works to revitalize Congress as an institution; promoting best practices in congressional offices; and helps Congress and the people they represent engage in a constructive and inclusive dialogue toward a thriving American democracy.