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Secretary Albright’s advocacy for “democracy over autocracy” applauded by supporters of election integrity


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Cory Combs

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U.S. Secretary of Defense / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Secretary Madeleine Albright’s legacy included strength and service, impact and influence, devotion and diplomacy. These sentiments were voiced about the late secretary of state by her fellow members of the National Council on Election Integrity, a project of the crosspartisan political reform group Issue One. The secretary was a member of the council from its inception in 2020 until her death, March 23, 2022. In recognition of her memorial service today, NCEI members offered the following comments:

“Madeleine Albright was the complete leader. Both personally and professionally. She never forgot who she was or where she came from, no matter how important and influential she became. An admired and faithful friend to all who knew her. The greatest tribute.”

— Chuck Hagel, former U.S. Secretary of Defense (R-NE)

“Secretary Madeleine Albright didn’t just hammer away at glass ceilings: She chiseled away until it finally cracked to allow more women into the pipeline, for herself and the women who followed. As she climbed the career ladder, she pulled other women up alongside her. Throughout her life, Albright paid special attention to mentoring younger women like me coming up through the ranks and she was determined to see that women had a seat at the table in political campaigns and in government. Madam Secretary was also a champion of inclusion for Blacks and other minorities to serve important roles in the foreign service by helping to be in the room when policy was being shaped. Most of all, she was a fierce believer in democracy and human rights by ensuring every voice was heard.”

— Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee chair

“Madeleine Albright was an extraordinary secretary of state and public servant for our country over many years. More importantly, from her personal life experience, she was an eloquent voice for the superiority of democracy over autocracy.”

— Dick Gephardt, former House Majority Leader (D-MO)

“We salute the legacy of Madeleine Albright, crusher of the glass ceiling extraordinaire: Ambassador to the United Nations, first woman U.S. secretary of state, educator, believer in our democracy. Having traveled with her and bipartisan lawmakers on Aspen Institute overseas meetings, I experienced her wisdom, diplomacy, and convictions which advanced our objectives.”

– Connie Morella, Former Ambassador & U.S. Congresswoman (R-MD) 

“Madeleine Albright was the epitome of a devoted and historic public servant. Never afraid to speak truth to power, she demonstrated the impact and importance of investing in diplomacy. Her legacy will live on in the generations of diplomats whom she mentored and who continue to follow her example.”

Russ Feingold, Former Senator (D-WI) & President of the American Constitution Society

“Madeleine Albright was a true patriot and a passionate advocate for democracy around the world. As powerful as she became on the world stage she always had time to help mentor and encourage girls and women here at home and around the globe. Her good works will live on for generations to come.”

– Mary Landrieu, former U.S. Senator, (D-LA)

“Secretary Albright is a transformative leader who made the world a better place with her presence, grace, leadership, and strength. She will be deeply missed but her endearing legacy will live on for generations. We are lucky to have experienced her extraordinary impact.”

— Amber McReynolds, national election expert and Governor for the United States Post Office

“I met Madeleine in the early 70s, and we carpooled to our jobs in the U.S. Senate: she as an advisor to Senator Ed Muskie and I as counsel to Senator John Tunney. We then worked together in the Carter White House: she as legislative director for National Security Advisor Zbig Brzezinski and I as Deputy Cabinet Secretary. Our careers continued to overlap, and I vividly recall a drink we had prior to the 1992 election: would Clinton win and would she get the jobs she coveted, and would I win my race for Congress? The rest is the rest: she broke all the glass ceilings and became an icon for the world, and I had a great chance too. When we were together on the Maidan in Ukraine in 2014 celebrating the fair and free election of Pedro Poroshenko, we both thought democracy was going to be well entrenched there. I still hope so, but how the world would benefit from her voice and leadership!”

Jane Harman, former U.S. Congresswoman (D-CA)

“When I was in the Clinton White House, I had the privilege of seeing the force of nature that was Secretary Albright in action. I was deeply inspired by her extraordinary leadership, her substance, and her style, and that until the end, her voice was always resolute. She was a trailblazer whose incredible legacy forged a path that so many women have followed and that will guide future generations of women for years to come.“

– Janet Murguía, President and CEO of UnidosUS

“Secretary Albright was not only a fierce defender of democracy here and around the globe, and a highly effective diplomat advancing American security and human rights, she provided numerous opportunities for scores of advisors to exchange ideas by gathering together in her home in Georgetown. She provided an intimate forum and engaging environment for countless exchanges between policymakers to advance ideas and succeed in the public service arena. The large number of Albright Acolytes now work in virtually every country and State Department field and advance many of her ideals and values today.”

— Tim Roemer, former U.S. Congressman (D-IN) and former U.S. Ambassador 

“Secretary Albright was a patriot and trailblazer who put her country first. Her personal story was extraordinary and her service exemplary. As a former member of House Appropriations, I can tell you that she made sure lawmakers had the information they needed to make smart decisions about State Department funding including the important work of supporting democracy internationally. After Congress, her continued service for democracy included Issue One and the National Council on Election Integrity. Her life was distinguished and a blessing to our nation.”

Zach Wamp, former Congressman (R-TN) 

“As the first woman U.S. secretary of state, Madeleine Albright dedicated her life to the promotion of human rights and the ideals of self-governance. She was a vital voice as a member of Issue One’s bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity during the 2020 election, working to restore public faith in our institutions and democratic norms. Secretary Albright was a trailblazing public servant who embodied the strength and resilience of American diplomacy and democracy.”

— Nick Penniman, Issue One founder and CEO