Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., sent a letter to colleagues suggesting ways to recognize feds.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., sent a letter to colleagues suggesting ways to recognize feds. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

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Top GOP Lawmaker Implores Colleagues to Publicly Praise Feds

Civil servants should receive public recognition like military personnel, committee leader says.

A key Republican lawmaker is pushing his colleagues to honor federal employees during Public Service Recognition Week, calling it critical to recognize their commitment and offer them thanks just as the nation does for military personnel.

In a letter to his fellow lawmakers, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., offered several suggestions for how his fellow House members should celebrate federal workers. He recommended his colleagues deliver a floor speech recognizing the achievements of a civil servant, send a personal note to an employee “who is making a difference for your constituents” or write a letter to the editor or op-ed to a local newspaper about those accomplishments. Roe encouraged members to visit agencies in Washington, D.C., or their home districts, to “hear directly from public sector employees” and to host meet and greets with finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.

“It’s important to recognize our public servants who every day carry out critical services and responsibilities to protect our country, ensure the public well-being, deliver essential services and keep our promise to veterans and those who serve,” said Roe, who serves as the top Republican on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

Public Service Recognition Week, created in 1985, is celebrated from May 5-11 this year. President Trump formally designated it as such in a proclamation this week, in which he offered praise for federal employees.

"Each day, millions of government employees serve their fellow citizens, and we as a nation recognize the valuable role they play in our communities," Trump stated. "From the law enforcement officers and Border Patrol agents who keep our country safe and secure to those who work in education, healthcare, transportation, and other public service careers, civil servants ensure government works for the American people.”

Resolutions in both the House and Senate to designate Public Service Recognition Week also came from Republicans: Rep. Rob Wittman, Va., and Sen. James Lankford, Okla. Lankford’s measure, cosponsored by two additional Republicans and four Democrats, passed the upper chamber by unanimous consent last week.

“For Public Service Recognition Week we thank the civil servants who support our military, provide care for veterans, and keep our airports safe, along with many other important jobs to help our nation function,” Lankford said. “We are grateful for the way you serve each and every one of us.”

Roe, who spearheaded legislation to ease the firing of malfeasant Veterans Affairs Department employees and has suggested the rest of government follow that blueprint, said in his letter to colleagues that lawmakers should “honor the commitment made by our public servants and thank them for their service.”