The Franklin D. Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Awards honor individuals whose careers exemplify President Roosevelt’s extraordinary dedication to public service and seek to inspire a renewed national commitment to the principals for which FDR stood.
Change can take a lifetime, and these men and women have dedicated their lives to the public good, never limiting themselves to what seemed possible when they began. Each year, we celebrate their courage, commitment, and values.
The Honorable Sherrod Brown (BIO)
United States Senate
Eighty-one years ago, in the midst of his efforts to rebuild the American economy from the wreckage of the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt warned the nation that “government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.” In recent decades, we’ve once again seen what happens when economic policy serves corporate interests instead of the public good: While executives have gotten rich, economic security is getting further and further out of reach for millions of workers.
That’s why Senator Sherrod Brown is fighting to strengthen America’s middle class and ensure working families get a fair deal. He has introduced measures to raise the minimum wage, guarantee paid sick and family leave, expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, extend benefits to part-time and independent workers, and make companies pay the price for cheating workers out of the wages they’re owed. He has also been a champion of green jobs, advocating for investments in clean-energy infrastructure and job retraining programs for displaced workers.
In recognition of his efforts to build an economic future in which no American worker gets left behind, the Roosevelt Institute presents Senator Sherrod Brown with the Distinguished Public Service Award.
Randi Weingarten (BIO)
President, American Federation of Teachers
Eleanor Roosevelt once told a story about a businessman who complained that teachers had it easy: They got summers off, and dealing with schoolchildren was better than negotiating with his board members and employees. “My thought,” she wrote, “was that if he and his fellow members on the board of directors and the men on the shop committee had had the right kind of teaching his job would be easier,” because they’d have the perspective and understanding needed to work together—and the same was true for all citizens of a democracy
As President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten represents 1.6 million workers in one of the most critical and challenging sectors of our economy. Like her union members—and Eleanor herself—President Weingarten believes our nation’s future depends on all Americans having access to a high-quality education. She has advocated for education reform that puts students’ needs and workers’ rights above private interests, called attention to the way soaring inequality degrades our public schools, and fought to ensure educators have a voice in shaping education policy.
In recognition of her work to improve America’s education system for teachers, students, and families, the Roosevelt Institute presents AFT President Randi Weingarten with the Distinguished Public Service Award.
Dr. Ernest Moniz (BIO)
United States Secretary of Energy, 2013-2017
The Roosevelts deeply valued the role of expertise and scientific knowledge in crafting government policy, and they were all too aware of the existential threat of war. It was FDR who gathered a Brains Trust of academics to create the New Deal, and it was under his leadership that the world’s top scientists began to develop America’s nuclear arsenal. Later in her life, Eleanor Roosevelt campaigned tirelessly for international dialogue and global peace to prevent the use of such weaponry.
As a nuclear physicist at MIT, as Secretary of Energy under President Obama, and now as CEO and co-chair of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, Dr. Ernest Moniz has been at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and our civilization by reducing the risk of nuclear conflict, addressing the impact of climate change, and advancing the development of clean energy technology. During his time in the Obama administration, he helped to position the United States as a global leader on scientific research and innovation and was a key player in negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, making progress toward his vision of a world free from nuclear weapons.
In recognition of his commitment to fact-based governing in pursuit of a smarter, safer, and more sustainable future, the Roosevelt Institute presents Dr. Ernest Moniz with the Distinguished Public Service Award.
Past Distinguished Public Service Award Recipients
AFSCME President Lee Saunders
Congressman Keith Ellison
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy
Senator Elizabeth Warren
Congressman Xavier Becerra
President Edwin D. Hill
Senator Tom Harkin
Congressman George Miller
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
The Honorable Barney Frank
International Brotherhood of the Teamsters President James P. Hoffa
The Honorable Chris Dodd
US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson
Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Richard Durbin
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
Congressman John Dingell
Senator Thomas Daschle