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 principles 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.
This year’s honorees include:
Lonnie R. Stephenson
President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal
Washington’s 7th Congressional District
We will also be recognizing Felicia Wong’s 10 years of visionary leadership at the Roosevelt Institute during this year’s event.
Congresswoman Pramila JayapalUS Representative, Washington’s 7th District
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal was first elected in 2016 and is now serving her third term in Congress representing Washington’s 7th District. She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only two dozen naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress.
Congresswoman Jayapal is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, where she serves as Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. She also serves on the House Education & Labor and Budget Committees. She is also the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which represents approximately 40% of the entire Democratic caucus; the Immigration Task Force for the Congressional Asian Pacific Asian Caucus; and a Vice Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ Equality Caucus where she is the co-chair of the Transgender Equality Task Force.
In Congress, Representative Jayapal has championed legislation to address income inequality, such as the $15 minimum wage and expanded collective bargaining rights for workers. She has worked extensively on health care issues as the lead sponsor of the Medicare for All bill in the House, and she is the author of the College for All Act, which would ensure every American has access to higher education. She has authored other landmark pieces of progressive legislation including the Ultra-Millionaire Tax Ad, Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act, the Housing is a Human Right Act, and the National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights
Representative Jayapal was born in India, grew up in India, Indonesia and Singapore, and came to the United States by herself at the age of 16 to attend college at Georgetown University. She later received her MBA from Northwestern University, worked in a number of industries in both the public and private sector, and is the author of two books.
She is married to Steve Williamson, a long-time labor leader and strategist, and is the proud mother of a transgender daughter name Kashika and step-son named Michael.
Lonnie R. StephensonInternational President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Lonnie R. Stephenson is the International President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing 775,000 active and retired members across North America. In his more than 40 years in the IBEW, Stephenson has emerged as one of the leading voices for dignity and respect for all electrical workers, strong and durable labor-management partnerships, and on-the-job excellence throughout all the IBEW’s industries.
A native of Rock Island, Ill., Stephenson started as an apprentice wireman in 1975, joining Rock Island Local 145 a year later. Active in his local, he served as steward, vice president, president, and trustee of his local’s Pension and Joint Apprentice Training Committees, before being appointed business agent in 1991. Five years later, he was elected business manager of Local 145 where he prioritized organizing, signing up contractors and electricians to the IBEW, and growing his local. He also helped build strong labor-management partnerships, working with local business and community leaders to lead the Quad Cities River Renaissance Task Force, which brought new jobs and investment to the area.
Stephenson’s commitment to growth was noticed by then-International President Edwin D. Hill, who appointed him as international representative in the Sixth District in 2002, where he served as district organizing coordinator. In 2005, he served as the assistant of then-International Vice President Jeff Lohman. In 2011, he was elected the Sixth District International Vice President by delegates to the 38th International Convention. He held that post until becoming International President in 2015 and was overwhelmingly elected to a full-term by delegates to the 39th International Convention in 2016.
Stephenson has made organizing his top priority, and under his watch the IBEW has continued to grow bigger and stronger each year. He has continued to promote the Code of Excellence program, cementing strong IBEW-management partnerships throughout the electrical industry and showcasing the benefits of an IBEW workforce.
Currently he serves on the Executive Committee of the AFL-CIO, the Governing Board of Presidents for North America’s Building Trades Unions, the Board of Directors of the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the Center for Energy Workforce Development, and as Labor Vice-Chair of the Council on Competitiveness.