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U.S. Senator Klobuchar and Former U.S. Senator Portman Receive American University’s Prize for Legislative Compromise

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and former Senator Robert Portman (R-OH) have been awarded the 2023 Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence, American University School of Public Affairs announced today. The award recognizes lawmakers who strive for legislative compromise in the spirit outlined by James Madison in the Federalist Papers and draws attention to legislators’ efforts to work across the aisle in an era of extreme political polarization.

“With a focus on the substantive issues that matter to our country and a dedication to making meaningful progress, Senators Klobuchar and Portman have achieved common ground and common sense solutions for the American people,” said AU President Sylvia Burwell. “We salute their changemaking spirit with the Madison Prize.”

The Madison Prize, which was endowed in 2018 by former Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and his wife Laura Skaggs. It is awarded after each biennial Congress to recognize one Member (U.S. Representative or Senator) from each major political party. 

Senators Klobuchar and Senator Portman’s service to American people exemplifies how Madison envisioned the responsibility of elected representatives to respect the public interest and seek greater good. They served together from 2011 until Portman’s retirement from the Senate in January 2023. Last August, they traveled together to Ukraine, continuing a record of cross-aisle cooperation that included work on affordable housing, combating the importation of Fentanyl by mail, and the protection of fish and wildlife in the Great Lakes region.

The School of Public Affairs manages the Madison Prize and its selection process. Members of the Selection Committee include former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK); former Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD); Ron Elving, executive in residence at AU’s School of Public Affairs; James Thurber, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and founder of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at AU’s School of Public Affairs; Gina Adams, senior vice president of government affairs, FedEx Corporation; Sarah Binder, professor of political science, George Washington University; and SPA Dean Vicky Wilkins (ex officio). 

“The School of Public Affairs is committed to protecting democratic institutions by promoting and recognizing legislative compromise, bipartisanship, and civil discourse,” said SPA Dean Vicky Wilkins. “Senators Klobuchar and Portman have a long track record of upholding these values in the Senate. We are pleased to recognize their efforts and note that their continued commitment to this cause is necessary and critical.”

The Madison Prize was presented to Senators Klobuchar and Portman on May 1 during a special event that featured a conversation between the awardees and AU President Sylvia Burwell.  

To learn more about the prize and the nomination process, please visit: