All of Central Washington’s constituents are special and I am proud to represent each of them in our nation’s capital. One constituent I am most proud of is General James N. Mattis, decorated four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of Defense. He exemplifies the American principles of hard work, patriotism, and integrity. He can communicate and resonate with everyone – from heads of state and members of Congress to local business leaders and young students. His military and civilian service serves as an example for all and I am honored to call him my friend.

Jim Mattis is a Washingtonian through and through. He was born in Pullman, raised in Richland and attended college in Ellensburg. When he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1969, I doubt he realized the impact his service would have on the people of Washington state—and the entire nation.

His devotion to defending the United States and our Constitution has earned the deepest degree of trust, respect, and admiration from our men and women serving in uniform across the globe. He was the first United States Marine Corps officer to command a Naval Task Force in Afghanistan following the attacks on September 11, 2001. He bravely commanded forces including the U.S. Joint Forces Command, NATO’s Supreme Allied Command for Transformation, and U.S. Central Command. When President Donald Trump nominated General Mattis for United States Secretary of Defense, he served honorably until December 31, 2018.

General Mattis is recognized around the world as an exemplary military general and he is revered in Central Washington as a hometown hero. Despite his outstanding career and numerous awards, he remains humble and involved throughout Washington state. From volunteering with the Tri-Cities Food Bank to hosting ceremonies for Vietnam veterans, General Mattis continues to demonstrate his commitment to our local community.

The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest honor the United States Congress can bestow on an individual. The greatest generals, thinkers, and leaders in our nation have received this award, including, but not limited to, George Washington, Ulysses S. Grant, Douglas MacArthur, and Harry S. Truman. I believe General Mattis belongs amongst these giants of American exceptionalism.

That is why I am introducing the General James N. Mattis Congressional Gold Medal Act with the full bipartisan support of the Washington congressional delegation. If signed into law, this bill would bestow our hometown hero with this great honor. Passing this legislation will not be an easy feat. It requires the cosponsorship of two-thirds of the House of Representatives, but, as I told General Mattis, I will work my hardest to ensure he is the next distinguished leader to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.