Arizona’s U.S. Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally are among the top-scoring lawmakers to receive awards this week from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their bipartisan leadership to support small businesses and entrepreneurs.
They and other national lawmakers received the awards at the chamber’s First Annual Governing with Distinction Ceremony. Recognizing those who are not afraid to stand up to partisan pressure is the main point behind the new awards, U.S. Chamber President Suzanne Clark said during the virtual awards ceremony Tuesday.
“If you want effective legislation, you need the right leaders, not political posturing,”
said Clark, who leads the world’s largest organization representing business.
The awards are intended to herald lawmakers’ accomplishments and encourage them to continue their bipartisan efforts, Clark said. Now more than ever, the country needs them.
“This event is taking place at a time when our country is being tested by three significant challenges: a public health crisis, a devastated economy that’s showing some signs of life but is still in a very precarious place, and long overdue efforts to address inequality in our society,” Clark said.
“The decisions that our elected officials make now will have significant bearing on how quickly and how effectively we rebuild our economy and how businesses bounce back, help restore jobs and opportunities, and create hope for all Americans during this really challenging time.”
To determine the winners, the chamber analyzed members’ voting records to measure bipartisan leadership in the two award categories:
-The Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award recognizes members of Congress who demonstrate the leadership required to advance policies that support free enterprise.
-The Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship recognizes members who demonstrate a willingness to work across the aisle and find common ground, even with those with whom they disagree.
Part of U.S. Chamber’s move to “middle ground”
The ceremony comes as the U.S. Chamber is making a concerted effort to foster a governing coalition of the political center for the sake of industry.
Political gridlock in Washington has hurt progress on some major issues important to industry, said Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the chamber.
Arizona senators both natural leaders
Sen. Sinema, who was elected in 2018, received both the Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson-Hamilton awards.
She also was the only honoree to score 100 percent in both categories, earning a 100 percent rating for her legislative record on jobs and the economy and for the number of bills introduced by a member of the opposite party.
Among her accomplishments, Sinema led the charge to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank that is important to Arizona’s manufacturing sector. This helps Arizona businesses reach new customers around the globe. In the last six years the bank has financed $2 billion in exports with 80 percent from small businesses.
“Working across the aisle is how I get things done and deliver for Arizona, and I remain committed to working with anyone to fuel innovation, cut red tape, and create jobs in Arizona,” Sinema said.
Sen. McSally, who was the first female pilot to fly in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron, received the Abraham Lincoln Leadership award for her bipartisan leadership in promoting a strong economy.
McSally led bipartisan efforts last year to ensure Arizona has the water resources needed to support the state’s population growth and economic development. She successfully shepherded the seven-state Drought Contingency Plan through Congress to avert a water crisis in the Southwest.
After receiving the award, McSally said she was honored to receive recognition for her bipartisan record of “pro-job, pro-free enterprise” work in Congress.
“Now more than ever, we need to work together to revitalize the economy, get people back to work, and create more jobs for Americans and Arizonans,” McSally said. “I will keep fighting for common sense pro-growth policies including low taxes, deregulation, and incentives to bring manufacturing home from China.”
Arizona industry benefits from their leadership
Arizona and the nation have benefited from the senators’ ability to lead, said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Both helped pass some of the most important bipartisan legislation coming out of Congress, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act to help small businesses harmed by COVID-19.
“Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Martha McSally may be freshmen, but they are quickly distinguishing themselves for their hard work and leadership. And though they hail from different parties, they are following in the footsteps of the late Sen. John McCain, who put Arizona’s and the country’s interests above partisan politics,” Hamer said.
Other lawmakers who received top scores include:
Abraham Lincoln Leadership for America Award
Rep. Donald Bacon (R-Nebraska)
Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-North Dakota)
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas)
Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina)
Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisan Leadership
Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine)
Rep. Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-New Jersey)
Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-South Carolina)For a complete list of winners or to view the ceremony, go to: U.S. Chamber Governing with Distinction.
This story was originally published at Chamber Business News.