| RON THORNBURGH
Secretary of State
STATE OF KANSAS
|Memorial Hall, 1st Floor
120 SW 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1594
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Jesse Borjon, Communications Director
Office of the Secretary of State
Top State Election Officials Announce Bob Dole as Recipient
of 2003 Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award
Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh Nominates Former U.S. Senator from
Kansas for National Honor
PORTLAND, ME---The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), hosting
its annual summer meeting in Maine, announced today that former U.S. Senate
Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas is the association's recipient of the 2003
Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award. The award is presented annually
to an individual whose actions best demonstrate the qualities of political courage
personified by Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who jeopardized her career
by criticizing the red baiting tactics of Senator Joseph P. McCarthy
in the 1950's.
"I am pleased to hear that Senator Dole will receive the credit that
he is due for his contributions to this country," said Kansas Secretary
of State Ron Thornburgh, who nominated Dole for the award. "I am particularly
proud that he is going to be recognized for his advocacy work on behalf of Americans
with disabilities, particularly his leadership in developing the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990. This landmark legislation protects the rights
of more than 57 million Americans with physical and mental disabilities. It
is also the legislation that created a cornerstone for the new federal election
reform bill, the Help America Vote Act, which will enable election administrators
around the country to offer unprecedented access to disabled voters on Election
Throughout his distinguished 35-year career in the U.S. Senate, Bob Dole developed
a reputation for speaking out for what he believed to be right. He called the
Americans with Disabilities Act "a good example of bipartisanship in action"
and said that is was unacceptable to bestow "second class citizenship"
upon those with disabilities. He fought for the bill despite widespread opposition
against it, particularly from a business community fearful of being driven into
bankruptcy by the law's new requirements.
"In addition to his outspoken support for ADA, Senator Dole's personal
experience of dealing with his own health concerns and overcoming those obstacles
is both inspiring and compelling," said NASS Executive Director Leslie
Reynolds. According to Reynolds, Dole is the second Kansan to be recognized
by the association. Former Senator Nancy Kassebaum received the award in 2000.
The National Association of Secretaries of State will formally present Dole
with the Margaret Chase Smith Award at the association's winter meeting in Washington,
DC, on February 13-16, 2004.