BURLINGTON, Vt., May 7 – Gretchen Bailey, who heads the constituent casework team for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was honored today with a prestigious award for exemplary public service. The award was presented during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston.
“I’m honored and humbled,” Bailey said. “I work with an incredible team of people.”
The Congressman John Joseph Moakley Award for Exemplary Public Service, named for a longtime Massachusetts congressman, is presented annually in recognition of outstanding accomplishments and achievements by a staffer for a member of the New England congressional delegation.
Sanders’ five-member team of constituent advocates has helped thousands of people looking for help with Social Security, veterans issues, housing problems and immigration matters. “When the economy is bad, people are desperate,” Bailey said, explaining that the urgency of the cases, as well as the number of cases, rises during difficult economic times.
After Tropical Storm Irene caused horrendous damage to Vermont in 2011, Sanders’ team of constituent advocates learned the nuances of the Federal Emergency Management Agency rules in order to help Vermonters secure funds to rebuild.
“Gretchen strongly believes that government should work for people and in the difference individuals can make in achieving that goal. She consistently demonstrates that the efforts of one person can make a profound impact on the life of another,” Sanders wrote in his letter nominating her for the award. “Gretchen has dedicated her life to this mission.”
An attorney, Bailey takes pride in getting the government to work as it should for people. Sometimes, she said, the federal bureaucracy needs a nudge. “That’s what we do. You make sure the case is brought to the attention of the proper person,” she said. “We help people navigate the bureaucracy, which can be vast and complicated.”
“Gretchen makes sure that every Vermonter she works with is heard, understood, and provided with appropriate assistance,” Sanders said. “Anyone needing help should not hesitate to contact our office at 1 (800) 339-9834.”