McMorris Rodgers Receives 2018 John Lewis-Amo Houghton Leadership Award

Jul 20, 2018 | Communications •

House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) received the 2018 John Lewis-Amo Houghton Leadership Award from the Faith & Politics Institute. From FPI’s website: “This prestigious award recognizes leaders who have exhibited qualities of conscience, courage and compassion in their roles as public servants.”

The Chair’s Remarks as Prepared:

First, thank you to John Lewis and the Faith and Politics Institute for bringing us all together again.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about our pilgrimage and I’m reminded that every day is a new opportunity to bring people together on this journey to a more perfect union.

As we learned in Selma, to travel far, we cannot be on this journey alone.

We must stay together, open our hearts to our neighbor, and trust that we all want the best for each other.

That’s unity and it’s how “We the People” can honor Dr. King’s life and legacy.

You know, there’s no substitute for seeing something for yourself, and that’s why I was so humbled by the opportunity to walk Dr. King’s steps on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

With Faith and Politics and Congressman Lewis, it provided an opportunity for all of us to gain more understanding, find common ground, and have more conversations rooted in civility.

So I would like to especially thank Faith and Politics for also inviting and allowing me to bring friends and community leaders from Eastern Washington on the pilgrimage.

Our journey to Selma started in 2016 when racist graffiti was spray-painted on our local Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center – a place where children come to be taught and nurtured.

Now, this wasn’t the first time/

We’ve had other racist examples, incidents against our Jewish Community, a young man with disabilities that was beaten to death by police.

So I reached out to our NAACP President to see what I could do and how I could help.

He responded and said:

“Cathy, you are a leader in this community we need to bring people together and co-host the courageous conversations to build a stronger, more peaceful community.”

It was out of that conversation that we started the Peaceful Communities Roundtable and brought a diverse group of people together to talk about the issues in our community.

We didn’t just want to talk about our problems, we wanted to focus on solutions and our future.

Together, we have joined arms to be agents of change, and set three priorities for our community in Eastern Washington:

Moving from racism to gracism — and viewing every person with respect and value;

Moving from poverty to opportunity — to work to create a community where we are warriors for human dignity and potential;

And moving from divisiveness to security — because as we become more and more divided it leads to violence and insecurity.

The pilgrimage was another remarkable opportunity for me to come together with these leaders in my own community to reach beyond our comfort zone, listen to one another, and build trust — which is foundational to any relationship.

Again, thank you Faith and Politics for making that possible.

I pray everyday that God’s purpose over my life will be more deeply rooted in my heart.

It’s God that has given a spirit of power, love, and a sound mind.

You often hear that faith and politics are taboo topics to discuss with other people.

That’s what I love about this group here today, you are embracing!

You are reminding us that we need to discuss these issues by, of course, listening first.

We’ve been reminded lately that divisiveness and hostility has taken hold of our modern politics.

It seems that everything is viewed as “us vs. them.”

That needs to change, and it’s on all of us to make that happen and return to civility.

So I’m continuing to challenge my community and my colleagues in Congress to reflect on the lessons we brought home from Selma.

How have we made a better effort to build trust?

How have we gone outside our comfort zone to have a courageous conversation with someone in need?

How have we helped our communities move from racism to gracism, poverty to opportunity, and divisiveness to security?

As I said, we are on this journey to a more perfect union.

As we write the next chapter in America’s history together, it’s now on us to invite others to join us too.

So I’m very grateful to be with all of you again today, and I’m thankful for your leadership, your thoughtfulness, your passion and your vision.