May 9, 2011
Sherri Breaux honored with 2011 Kevin B. Harrington Award for Excellence in Democracy Education
The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) is pleased to announce Sherri Breaux, director of the Resource/Infrastructure Division in the Louisiana Senate, as the recipient of the 2011 Kevin B. Harrington Award for Excellence in Democracy Education. She accepted the award in Boston, Mass., during NCSL’s Executive Committee meeting on May 7, 2011.
“We are very pleased to be honoring such a worthy individual,” said Senator Richard Moore, NCSL president. “Sherri Breaux’s outstanding commitment to educating young people about American democracy embodies the spirit of the Harrington award.”
Breaux was nominated for her years of service promoting democracy education. She worked tirelessly to help create and staff the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), composed entirely of high school students. By facilitating communication between the young people and the legislature, the council gives students a unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of government. Each June, during the legislative session, Breaux plans a two-day event, which includes a public hearing for young people and a leadership seminar for new LYAC members. Past seminars have included roundtable discussions with legislators, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and other community leaders. Breaux has also coordinated NCSL’s America’s Legislators Back to School program and encouraged state senators to visit classrooms. Breaux also staffs the Louisiana Civic Education Commission.
"Sherri is passionately committed to the promotion of civic education and civic engagement in Louisiana, especially among our young people. Her work has made a real difference in the lives of Louisiana's youth leaders," Louisiana Senate President Joel Chaisson said. "We are all very proud of Sherri and congratulate her on this national honor. It is well-deserved."
This is the first year this prestigious award has been given out to a person or organization that best informs students and the general public of the value and strength of our form of government, for example, by:
Supporting NCSL’s Legislators Back to School program.
Promoting civic engagement and education through legislative activities.
Encouraging internships and fellowships in state and local government.
Developing publications and videos on the role of state and local legislatures.
Creating websites or electronic communication to further public understanding of representative democracy.
The award is named in honor of Kevin B. Harrington of Salem, Mass., the founding president of the National Conference of State Legislatures in 1975. He was an educator by profession and, as president of the Massachusetts Senate (1971-1978), organized the Legislative Education Office responsible for training State House interns, conducting the Citizens Legislative Seminar, and coordinating the NCSL Legislators Back to School program in Massachusetts. He was a leading advocate of civic education and of the role of government in promoting education of its citizens. Throughout his career in the Senate and in his public service activities afterward, he was dedicated to improving the public’s understanding of American democracy.
NCSL is a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the states, commonwealths and territories. It provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues and is an effective and respected advocate for the interests of the states in the American federal system.