Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Judge Lina Hidalgo were awarded the first annual Jack Brooks Leadership Awards for their efforts to make it easier for Americans to cast ballots during the 2020 election cycle. The Leadership Award was named in honor of Congressman Jack Brooks, whose career in Congress left a legacy of crafting public policies with a no-nonsense approach that included working with members of both parties. Congressman Brooks served in Congress for more than 40 years and as a member of the Judiciary committee, he helped author and voted for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which gave minority voters in the South the right to vote.
The Jack Brooks Foundation looked across the United States to honor the two people doing the most to enhance American democracy. Both Governor Schwarzenegger and Judge Hidalgo worked diligently over the last year to ensure that voters had safe and accessible ways to vote in the 2020 elections. Specifically, Governor Schwarzenegger was given the award for his work through the USC Schwarzenegger Institute. In 2020, nonpartisan grants were given to counties who applied for additional funding to open polling places.
In response to receiving the award, Governor Schwarzenegger stated, "It is fantastic to receive the Jack Brooks Leadership Award for the work we did at the USC Schwarzenegger Institute to open polling places in states that were formerly protected by the Voting Rights Act. Voting is one of the most important rights we have as Americans and we need to do everything we can to stand up against those trying to restrict polling access. I’d like to thank Jeb Brooks and the Jack Brooks Foundation for this great honor."