WASHINGTON, D.C — FRIDAY, JANUARY 6, 2023 — Today, Committee of Seventy President and CEO Al Schmidt will receive the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Joe Biden for his work defending American democracy and promoting safe and secure elections.
The ceremony is scheduled for Friday, January 6, 2 PM, at the White House.
The Presidential Citizens Medal is awarded to “citizens of the United States of America who have performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens.” The medal is the nation’s second-highest civilian award, after the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It will be presented to Schmidt and others who played a critical role in defending democracy during and in the aftermath of the 2020 election, including election officials and Capitol Police officers.
As City Commissioner of Philadelphia in the 2020 election, Schmidt defended against attempts to stop the counting of votes. This past June, he testified in front of the January 6th Committee that, as a result of standing up for the electoral process, he and his family received death threats. Just yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor-Elect Josh Shapiro selected Schmidt to be Pennsylvania’s next secretary of state.
“American democracy works because of every individual who participates in it, whether as a voter, a public servant, or someone who stands up to defend against those who would try to break the electoral system,” said Schmidt. “I’m honored to stand among these heroes who each in their own way sees to it that our democratic process continues to work, and I thank President Biden for this great honor.”
This year’s other Presidential Citizens Medal recipients include Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick, Harry Dunn, Eugene Goodman and Caroline Edwards; Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Daniel Hodges; former officer Michael Fanone; Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers; and Georgia election workers Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss.