Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) and his team have won a 2020 Democracy Award from the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF). They received the honor for running the best constituent service operation in the United States Congress.
The Constituent Service category recognizes “outstanding practices or achievements acting as ombudsmen with the federal government or responding to constituent requests and inquiries.” Moulton and his team were named among eight finalists from the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate in April. The Congressional Management Foundation will present Moulton’s team with the 2020 Democracy Award for Constituent Services at a virtual award ceremony today.
“In moments like this one—when the federal government is failing to deliver, when a record number of people are out of work, and when far too many people are feeling let down by our country—we know the work that we do on your behalf is more important than ever. There’s a reason the title for Member of Congress is Representative. The duty to be your voice in government is our most important job, and we’re going to keep fighting for you every day,” Moulton said.
Bradford Fitch, President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation said: “As a Democracy Award winner, Rep. Moulton’s office is clearly one of the best in Congress. This designation demonstrates that Rep. Moulton has made a significant commitment to being the best public servant for his constituents in Massachusetts. Rep. Moulton and his staff are to be congratulated for not only being a model for his colleagues in Congress, but for helping to restore trust and faith that our democratic institutions can work.”
In assessing and awarding the office of Rep. Seth Moulton a Democracy Award for Constituent Service, CMF identified the following:
“As a 2018 Democracy Award Winner for Transparency and Accountability, the office of Rep. Seth Moulton has already demonstrated the value they place on accessibility, an emphasis rivaled by their commitment to constituent service. Since 2015, the office has saved constituents $2,475,152; at the conclusion of each case, the office sends a survey by email or phone designed to measure their service both qualitatively and quantitatively. Their customer satisfaction score is exceptional compared to similar measurements in the private sector. Additionally, the office makes itself a resource for new Members. Last year, they wrote a manual on their constituent service operations with the intention of preparing freshmen, and they held two conference calls with staff for new Members. Rep. Moulton hosts both in-person and Facebook Live town halls, and during his first term held an in-person town hall in all 39 cities and towns in his district.”
The total amount of money returned to constituents has increased since the nomination was made earlier this year. In August, Moulton and his team surpassed the $3 million mark in the amount they have returned to their constituents.
Moulton and his team were also nominated for the award because they pioneered new technology to serve their constituents. Last year, Moulton partnered with Code for Boston to develop and test an app that helps constituents affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision. Many public servants have been affected by the issue, which makes it difficult to accurately predict how much people have saved for retirement. The group beta tested the app at Moulton’s in-person town halls before the coronavirus pandemic. The app is live here.
The need for constituent services has grown since the pandemic. Moulton’s office was the first in Congress to issue a guide to constituents and other Congressional offices on teleworking. A member of Moulton’s team has started a staff association that’s pushing Congress to modernize. And his Director of Constituent Services, Neesha Suarez, launched an investigation into missing stimulus payments that identified a nationwide problem at the IRS.
The Congressional Management Foundation’s Democracy Award categories include Constituent Services, Innovation and Modernization, Transparency and Accountability, and the Life in Congress Award for Workplace Environment. Moulton previously earned the Transparency and Accountability award in 2018. He is the only Member of Congress to earn two awards from the Congressional Management Foundation.
CMF developed categories and criteria for the Democracy Awards over the last five years with input from Members of Congress, current and former congressional staff, and the Maxwell School for Public Policy and Citizenship at Syracuse University.
A review committee then conducted dozens of interviews to select 26 finalists. A committee composed of former Members of Congress and staff selected the winners using the application, interview notes, and supporting material provided by the office.
The Founding Partner for the Democracy Awards is the Bridge Alliance, which provided a generous grant to launch the program. Bridge Alliance is a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations committed to revitalizing democratic practice in America.