U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to Receive Congressional Black Associates’ William Smith Trailblazer Award

Jennifer DeCasper, Mike McKay, Nichole Francis Reynolds, to also be honored at ceremony in Rayburn House Office Building.

WASHINGTON D.C.—On February 26, the Congressional Black Associates (CBA) will honor four outstanding former and current congressional staffers with 2015 Trailblazer Awards. The 8th Annual “Tribute to our Trailblazers” Black History Month Award Ceremony will honor U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Jennifer DeCasper, Mike McKay, and Nichole Francis Reynolds. This year’s ceremony will take place at 6:30PM in 2325 Rayburn House Office Building. The event is open to the press.

Each year the Congressional Black Associates honor current or former African American congressional staffers who are trailblazers in their respective fields.  Each award is named after a former congressional staffer who pioneered the way for others to follow.

“Black History month tells the story of significant accomplishments and contributions of African Americans in a variety of industries and spanning across generations,” said CBA President Ashley Baker. “We are pleased to recognize current Black History makers who have blazed trails during their careers. These leaders illuminated a path to success for current congressional staff and encourage us as they pass the torch of excellence to the next generation.”

2015 Trailblazer Award Recipients:

  • The Honorable Anthony Foxx, 17th United States Secretary of TransportationRecipient of the William Smith Trailblazer Award
  • Jennifer DeCasper, Chief of Staff to Senator Tim Scott - Recipient of the Robert Harold Ogle Trailblazer Award
  • Mike McKay, Principal at Empire Consulting Group Recipient of the Joseph Hayne Rainey Trailblazer Award
  • Nichole Francis Reynolds, Director of Federal Government Affairs at MasterCard Worldwide - Recipient of the Christine Ray Davis Trailblazer Award

For more information or to RSVP contact Ashley Baker at CongressionalBlackAssociates@gmail.com, 202-225-9897.

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About The Congressional Black Associates

The Congressional Black Associates is an official congressional staff association of the United States House of Representatives. Founded in 1979, the purpose of the CBA is to enhance the political, social and economic capabilities of Black people on Capitol Hill, in the Greater Washington Metropolitan area, the nation, and other countries throughout the world. CBA serves as a professional and social network for Black employees who are working or have worked on Capitol Hill to disseminate information on relevant issues and news important to Black people.

Congressional Black Associates Trailblazer Awards

The William Smith Trailblazer Award

William Smith became the highest ranking African American in the federal government when he was appointed Librarian of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1881. He was regarded by Members from both parties as a reference of “authority” with a “memory of speeches, and points made by different public men in debate, what was remarkable.”

The Joseph Hayne Rainey Trailblazer Award

Joseph Hayne Rainey was the first African American to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African American to preside over the House, and the longest serving African American member during the tumultuous period of The Reconstruction.

The Robert Harold Ogle Trailblazer Award

Robert Harold Ogle was the first African American known to serve as a professional Senate committee staffer. Senate records show that Ogle was originally hired in 1919 as a “laborer” for the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Francis E. Warren of Wyoming. His title was later changed to “messenger” for the committee in 1921, and he was finally named an “additional clerk” in 1930.

The Christine Ray Davis Trailblazer Award

Christine Ray Davis was the first African American Chief Clerk of the House Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department. She was the highest paid African American woman in the federal government and the first African American congressional aide with unrestricted access to the House floor.