US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will receive this year’s John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in recognition of her efforts to pass the Affordable Care Act and restore Democrats’ majority in the US House of Representatives during the 2018 elections, officials said Sunday.
The honor will be presented to Pelosi, a California Democrat, on May 19 during a ceremony at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester.
In a statement, Caroline Kennedy said Pelosi “leads with strength, integrity and grace under pressure — using her power to protect the most vulnerable of our citizens.”
“She is the most important woman in American political history and is a true Profile in Courage,” said Kennedy, daughter of the 35th president and former US ambassador to Japan.
Pelosi said in a statement that she is honored and recalled President Kennedy’s inaugural speech in which he spoke of “the energy, the faith, the devotion . . . [to] light our country and all who serve it — and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
“It is inspiring that the award itself is a lantern, a manifestation of that light,” Pelosi said. “That energy, faith and fire have inspired my work in the Congress and as [s]peaker, and it is my hope that my receiving this award will encourage others to pursue public service, and lead with courage, conviction and conscience.”
The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation established the award in 1989 to honor the former president’s commitment and contribution to public service and celebrate his birthday on May 29. The foundation is a nonprofit that supports the presidential library and museum.
The honor is named for President Kennedy’s book, “Profiles in Courage,” in which he recounted patriotic and unselfish acts made by eight US senators in the face of adversity.
The book received the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.
Caroline Kennedy and her son, Jack Schlossberg, plan to present Pelosi with the award.
Schlossberg said in a statement that Pelosi governs responsibly.
“She sets a powerful example for a new generation of public servants, proving that politics can still be a noble profession,” he said.
Previous recipients of the award include former president Barack Obama, former US representative Gabrielle Giffords, and US Representative John Lewis.