The Madison Prize

Honoring legislators who recognize the necessity for compromise in politics

The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence

At a time when gridlock on Capitol Hill has too often replaced negotiation, and public approval of Congress has reached historic lows, it is good to take notice of those who, despite the times, have worked across the aisle to resolve difficult issues. The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence will honor national legislators who have recognized the necessity for compromise in our politics and have shown that the public interest is more important than party doctrine.

The Madison Prize will be awarded after the end of each two-year congressional session to recognize one member of Congress from each major political party who best exemplifies respect for the institutional values of Congress and the need for compromise in a democratic society, traits outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10.

The Madison Prize, endowed by former Rep. David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and his wife Laura Skaggs in partnership with SPA, will be awarded after each biennial Congress to recognize one Member (U.S. Representative or Senator) from each major political party (or an Independent who caucuses with one of the parties) whose service reflects an understanding that American government depends on working out differences, not insisting on ideological purity.

“A lot of people care deeply about our democracy and about making it work better,” said Skaggs. “But too many no longer understand that the Constitution requires compromise as essential to a working democracy.”

Skaggs served 12 years in the U.S. Congress (1987-1999) as representative from Colorado's second district, and three terms in the Colorado House (1981-1987). During his time on Capitol Hill, he was a leader in efforts to improve the House of Representatives. He was the founding co-chairman with Congressman Ray LaHood (R-Illinois) of the House Bipartisan Retreats.

The AU School of Public Affairs will launch the initial Madison Prize selection process in fall 2018, with the inaugural prize awarded in early 2019 to two deserving members from the current 115th Congress.

The Madison Prize will be awarded after the end of each two-year congressional session to recognize one member of Congress from each major political party who best exemplifies respect for the institutional values of Congress and the need for compromise in a democratic society, traits outlined by James Madison in Federalist 10.

Nominations are open through October 31, 2018.

Nomination Form

The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence

Former Reps. David Skaggs (D-CO), Connie Morella (R-MD), and SPA Executive in Residence Ron Eliving, also Senior Editor and Correspondent on the Washington Desk for NPR, talk about The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence.

Left to right: Former Congressman David Skaggs, former AU president Neil Kerwin, and Laura Skaggs

Announcement ·

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David Skaggs on the National Mall

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