Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are being honored for displaying civility in politics, a rare Washington commodity they’ll need plenty of in the coming months as they champion the divisive issues of gun control and immigration legislation.
The senior senators from one of the country’s bluest states and one of its reddest will be feted next week at a National Press Club reception, where they’ll receive the Allegheny College Prize for Civility in Public Life.
“Our winners this year could not be more different,” James Mullen, the president of the private liberal arts college in Meadville, Pa., said in a news release Thursday. “Senator Feinstein is a proud Democrat from the heart of American liberalism in San Francisco. And Senator Graham is a proud Republican son of the conservative South.”
Feinstein, a fifth-term lawmaker who’s the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, last month introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of assault weapons, a ban that lapsed in 2004, a decade after Congress first imposed it.
Graham, in his second term, is helping to lead a bipartisan group of eight senators who are pushing an overhaul of the nation’s patchwork immigration system, with tougher border enforcement in exchange for a path toward citizenship for 11 million undocumented residents.
“Senators Feinstein and Graham are proud partisans who battle vigorously on the most contentious issues of the day,” Mullen said in the release. “They fight the hard fights, take on the big issues and strive mightily to win. But they don’t seek to win at all costs. They each have long records of doing battle with deep respect for the political process and abiding civility toward those they engage.”
Graham and Feinstein are scheduled to discuss their approaches to politics at the ceremony Tuesday, when they’ll receive their awards.
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, who also served as the first secretary of homeland security, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, will help deliver the awards.
PBS commentators David Brooks and Mark Shields received the Allegheny College civility prize last year, the first time it was given by the school, which was founded in 1815.