Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJuly 18, 20173min331

Leave it to an old-school gentleman of politics like former Colorado U.S. Rep. David Skaggs to launch a new campaign championing bipartisanship in public office. The Boulder Democrat, who represented the 2nd Congressional District from 1987 to 1999, was widely recognized for his dignified demeanor — topped off with his trademark bowtie — during his lengthy tenure in state and national politics.

Now, he is behind a new effort to restore a measure of dignity to Congress. Yes, Congress. A press release from American University in Washington, D.C., which is partnering in the endeavor along with Republican former U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards of Oklahoma, explains:

At a time when gridlock on Capitol Hill has replaced consensus, and public approval of Congress has reached historic lows, former Rep. David Skaggs … and his wife Laura have established a new award. The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence will recognize and reward legislators who persist in striving for bipartisanship, cooperation, and, in the words of James Madison, a spirit of public service that transcends “faction.”

The Madison Prize for Constitutional Excellence, endowed by Rep. and Mrs. Skaggs in partnership with American University’s School of Public Affairs, will be awarded after each biennial Congress to recognize one Member (a U.S. Representative or Senator) from each major political party (or an Independent who caucuses with one of the parties).

The press statement quotes Skaggs:

“The only way our political system can work to solve problems is through negotiation and compromise … The Madison Prizes will honor Members of Congress who recognize that and will, Laura and I hope, encourage them.”

According to the university, its Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies will oversee the selection process for the prize, with the first awards to be presented in early 2019.