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NEA recognizes Senator Patty Murray with Friend of Education award

Dennis Van Roekel: I am proud to call Sen. Murray NEA’s Friend of Education

Atlanta, GA - July 03, 2013 -

Patty Murray, the senior Senator from the state of Washington and chair of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee, received NEA’s highest honor today, the Friend of Education Award. Nearly 9,000 educators bestowed upon her the prestigious award here during the 2013 NEA Representative Assembly.

“Senator Murray is a tireless advocate for children and families who sees the federal budget as an essential tool to lift up more people and bring them into the middle class,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Her unwavering support for issues such as education, healthcare and child care shows how carefully she is listening to the hopes and dreams of America’s families.”

The NEA award acknowledges Murray’s significant leadership role in pushing $25 billion for education jobs and Medicaid funding across the finish line in a difficult political and fiscal environment in 2010. It recognizes her ability to use her seniority on the Appropriations Committee and the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee to push key education issues such as more preschool and literacy programs, smaller class sizes and better education for homeless children. 

 “I am so honored to receive the Friend of Education Award from the National Education Association. As a former pre-school teacher, a former school board member, and a mom who actively participated in my own children’s education, I know how important education is to the future of this country,” Sen. Murray said. “I am proud to be a champion for educators in the U.S. Senate and I look forward to continuing to work with the NEA in the weeks, months and years to come.”

“I am proud to call Senator Murray NEA’s Friend of Education,” said Van Roekel. “As Senate Budget Committee chair, she has worked to reduce federal deficits in a thoughtful and responsible manner—minimizing cuts in federal education funding, protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and asking corporations and wealthy individuals to pay their fair share.”

The Friend of Education Award, presented each year during NEA’s Representative Assembly, recognizes a person or organization whose leadership, acts or support have significantly contributed to the improvement of American public education. Murray follows Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who was named NEA Friend of Education in 2012. Other public officials who have received this honor include U.S. Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and William Jefferson Clinton; U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall; Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.); and U.S. Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley and the late Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-Mass.).

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The National Education Association ( is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.