FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Catherine Lu
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(Washington, D.C.; January 25, 2013) — John Walsh, host of television’s “America’s Most Wanted,” was today presented with the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award for Acts of Political Courage. Nevada Secretary of State and NASS President Ross Miller, who nominated Walsh for the award, cited Walsh’s long-standing commitment to not only fighting directly for victims of crime, but also fighting the inertia that often prevents tougher federal and state laws.
In accepting the award, Walsh exhorted the Secretaries of State to “Go home, be good Secretaries of State, saddle up and make a difference.” Walsh told the NASS audience of grisly cases in which serial criminals victimized children, and of the extreme frustration he endured in not only tracking down and seeing those criminal prosecuted, but also the frustration of being an advocate for tougher laws against kidnapping, homicide and sexual exploitation.
“I understand John Walsh’s frustration,” said Miller. “As a former criminal prosecutor I’ve had similar experience, although certainly not on the scale that John has endured. The jurisdiction of most Secretaries of State doesn’t usually include things that might directly affect crimes against children, but I think John’s remarks reminded all of us that any position of leadership carries a responsibility to do whatever we can to be advocates, especially when the victims and potential victims are children, some of the most vulnerable of our population.”
Miller has a longstanding association with Walsh, dating back to 1988 when his father, former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, was a Clark County District Attorney and president of the National District Attorneys Association. “John Walsh has always been regarded by my family as a man of great integrity and commitment,” said Miller. “The Margaret Chase Smith Award recognizes political courage. John Walsh has not only exhibited that courage, but has done so on behalf of victims who could not advocate for themselves. There may be no better definition or use of that courage.”
NASS established the Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award in tribute to the former U.S. Senator from Maine, who jeopardized her career by speaking out against the red-baiting tactics of Senator Joseph P. McCarthy. Recipients of the award are recognized for similar acts of political courage, uncommon character, and selfless action in the realm of public service. Former recipients include former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
John Walsh (middle), host of television's "America's Most Wanted," accepts the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) Margaret Chase Smith American Democracy Award from NASS Awards Committee Co-Chair Al Jaeger (left), North Dakota Secretary of State, and from Nevada Secretary of State and NASS President Ross Miller (right).
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