WASHINGTON—At the closing session of the National Governors Association (NGA) Winter Meeting on Monday, Feb. 22, NGA Chair Utah Gov. Gary Herbert will award Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander with the first-ever James Madison Award.
The James Madison Award recognizes a prominent public figure for advancing the principles of federalism and strengthening state-federal collaboration. The award will be given annually by the NGA chair.
“Sen. Lamar Alexander exemplifies the true spirit of federalism,” Gov. Herbert said. “His experience as a governor, cabinet secretary and now as senator inform his current work, which has empowered states to find solutions and improve lives.”
Sen. Alexander was selected for spearheading legislation that empowers states to solve pressing national issues. Specifically, he led passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which repealed the outdated No Child Left Behind law and restored education policy decision-making power to the states.
Sen. Alexander also led the reauthorization of the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act, which provides states with the flexibility to help retrain and put people back to work. He has also been a tireless champion for allowing states to level the playing field and promote fair competition for Main Street retailers in the digital age.
“Sen. Alexander’s work epitomizes the type of cooperative federalism the founding fathers envisioned and governors expect,” Gov. Herbert said.
“I am grateful for the governors’ award, but I should be honoring the governors for leading the bipartisan fight to reverse the trend toward a national school board,” Sen. Alexander said. “As a senator, I now know for certain what I said while I was governor: You don’t get any wiser or more caring by flying to Washington, D.C., each week. The right way to fix No Child Left Behind was to pass the bill that The Wall Street Journal said was the ‘largest devolution of federal control to states in a quarter-century.’ Now we can work together to improve schools state by state, community by community, classroom by classroom.”