by Jan Goehring
Sherri Breaux, division director and chief legislative researcher for the Louisiana Senate, received the first Kevin B. Harrington Memorial Award for Excellence in Democracy Education. She was recognized for her passionate devotion to educating young people about our system of democracy through her work with the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC), the Commission on Civic Education and the America's Legislators Back to School Program. Massachusetts state senator and NCSL President Richard Moore presented the award to Breaux in Boston last weekend.
Breaux was nominated for her years of service promoting democracy education. She worked tirelessly to help create and staff the LYAC, composed entirely of high school students. By facilitating communication between the young people and the legislature, the council gives students a unique opportunity to be involved in the workings of government. Each June, during the legislative session, Breaux plans a two-day event, which includes a public hearing for young people and a leadership seminar for new LYAC members. She serves as a coordinator for NCSL’s America’s Legislators Back to School program, encouraging state senators to visit classrooms. Breaux also staffs the Louisiana Civic Education Commission.
The award, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Trust for Representative Democracy, will be given each year to an individual or organization for advancing the public’s understanding of state or local representative democracy. It is named for Kevin B. Harrington, the founding president of NCSL. He was was an educator by profession and, as president of the Massachusetts Senate (1971-1978), organized the Legislative Education Office. He was a leading advocate of civic education and believed government should play a significant role in promoting the civic education of its citizens.
“We are very pleased to be honoring such a worthy individual,” said Senator Richard Moore, NCSL president. “Sherri Breaux’s outstanding commitment to educating young people about American democracy embodies the spirit of the Harrington award.”
Ms. Breaux is pictured with Neil Harrington, Senator Harrington's son, and Senator Moore.