Last week, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) received the Democracy Award for Innovation and Modernization at the Congressional Management Foundation’s (CMF) annual awards ceremony. The Democracy Award is CMF’s award recognizing non-legislative achievement and performance in congressional offices. The Innovation and Modernization category honors offices for their outstanding achievements in innovation and modernization of their office services, practices, and the institution of Congress around them.

“One of the reasons I came to Congress was my desire to make government work better,” said Rep. Kilmer. “I’m proud of the bipartisan progress we made on the Modernization Committee, and I’m committed to doing all I can to keep pushing for reforms to build a Congress that is more capable of meeting the needs of the American people.”

“I have been working in Congress for 37 years now, on and off. I have to tell you that personally, the most rewarding experience I had in my three decades of working with Congress has been on the modernization effort and working with [Representatives Kilmer and Timmons],” said Bradford Fitch, President and CEO, Congressional Management Foundation. “What they have done to infuse in the U.S. Congress a concept of renewal and innovation is unprecedented in the history of an institution that is two centuries old.”

CMF included the following reasons for selecting Rep. Kilmer for an award:

“Rep. Derek Kilmer served as chair on the Select Committee on Modernization. The Committee passed 97 recommendations during the 116th Congress, and they beat their mark in the 117th Congress, recommending 105 changes. To accomplish greater staff retention and recruitment, as well as compensation and benefits, Kilmer and the Committee recommended updating and aligning staff benefits with what other employers are providing.

“The Committee recommended offices be allowed to pay for their staff to receive certain professional certifications. To improve recruiting, the Committee implores talent acquisition software, run by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) that can assist House offices in managing their recruitment and hiring processes. The CAO also started a Human Resources Hub to provide access to best practices, tips, tools, and customizable templates for member offices at the Committee’s request.”

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