Mr. Smith may go to Washington, but he’s not the only one–our 2024 Sammies finalists visited Congress for a day of meetings and conversations
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Mr. Smith may go to Washington, but he’s not the only one–our 2024 Sammies finalists visited Congress for a day of meetings and conversations

June 6, 2024

Recently, the Partnership took more than two dozen 2024 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® finalists up to Capitol Hill to promote their work to their congressional representatives. 

The meetings, dubbed “Sammies Hill Day,” took place with senators and representatives on both sides of the aisle and was a fantastic way to highlight the impressive work of the thousands of federal employees who serve the American people every day. 

Sammies finalist Pete Guria, a director at the Environmental Protection Agency, met with Democratic Rep. John Garamendi of California.

Building support for the nonpartisan civil service 

When people think about the federal government, they usually think about politicians and elected officials.  

However, the vast majority of federal employees are career civil servants—air traffic controllers, postal workers, national park rangers and others—who directly serve and interact with the public on a daily basis.  

This year’s “Sammies Hill Day,” held during the 40th Public Service Recognition Week, recognized the many ways that these unheralded federal employees serve American taxpayers.

Sammies finalist Wanda J. Brown, a project director at the IRS, met with Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland.

The 2024 Sammies finalists work in 13 states, plus Washington, D.C, and represent 14 agencies, including the departments of Defense, Justice and Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and NASA.  

Our honorees’ achievements include eliminating chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria and Libya; leading investigations that led to the seizure and forfeiture of over $3 billion in bitcoin; discovering over 100 children working illegally on dangerous machinery; creating cleaner-energy school buses; and providing ground support during disasters such as the Interstate 95 bridge collapse outside of Philadelphia and the Maui wildfires.  

Sammies finalist Jerry Ma, director of emerging technology and chief AI officer at the Patent and Trademark Office, met with Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.

Bringing the Sammies finalists to Capitol Hill to share their stories is a great way to highlight the nonpartisan, expert work that occurs throughout the federal government and across the country. At a time of growing calls to politicize the merit-based civil service by converting thousands of career federal employees to at-will political appointees, showcasing this work is especially critical.   

The conversations with members of Congress and their staff help build a bridge between the executive and legislative branch, shining a spotlight on the work that senators and representatives, and the broader public, may be unaware of.

To learn more about why the nonpartisan, merit-based civil service is vital to our democracy, register for our upcoming Trust Summit

For more information about our 2024 Sammies finalists, visit our website.

For fast facts about the federal workforce, explore our Fed Figures series.

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