WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, issued the statement below on the presentation of the Presidential Citizens Medal to 14 Americans who made exemplary contributions to America’s democracy:
“The January 6th insurrection revealed that the true guardians of our democracy are the heroes all around us—the poll workers who administer our elections, the state and local officials who protect our election results, and the law enforcement officers who defend our Capitol.
“For each of the Americans receiving the Presidential Citizens Medal today, that commitment to our democracy came at great personal cost as they endured violent threats, physical attacks, and in the case of Officers Brian Sicknick, Howard Liebengood, and Jeffrey Smith, tragic loss of life. It is because of all of their unwavering bravery that our democracy prevailed on January 6th.
“I extend my deepest gratitude to all of the recipients: Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; former Arizona House Speaker Russell “Rusty” Bowers; Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth-designate Al Schmidt; Fulton County, Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss; Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police; and Harry Dunn, Caroline Edwards, Aquilino Gonell, and Eugene Goodman of the U.S. Capitol Police. We also honor Officers Brian Sicknick, Howard Liebengood, Jeffrey Smith, their families, and all who loved them for their selfless acts of service and sacrifice for our country.”
Two of the medal recipients have testified to their work defending democracy before the Senate Rules Committee. In March 2021, Secretary Benson testified about voting and election administration in Michigan and in October 2021, former Commissioner Schmidt testified about threats facing election workers, including violent threats against himself and his family.
In August 2021, President Biden signed into law legislation to issue four congressional gold medals to recognize the service and sacrifice of United States Capitol Police and other law enforcement officers who defended the Capitol on January 6. Senators Klobuchar and Roy Blunt (R-MO), Chairwoman and then-Ranking Member of the Senate Rules Committee, led the effort to secure unanimous passage of the legislation in the Senate.