Washington — The Golden Bear might soon be the recipient of a Congressional Gold Medal.
By a 371-10 vote, the House overwhelmingly voted yesterday to give Ohio-native Jack Nicklaus the Congressional Gold Medal. 100% of our Ohio delegation were enthusiastic supporters. The award seeks to honor Nicklaus “in recognition of his service to the nation for promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution or event. Past recipients include Winston Churchill, Bob Hope, George Washington, Robert Frost, Mother Teresa and, more recently, Ohioans Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, and John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.
Ohio lawmakers hope to get the bill passed in advance of the Memorial Tournament, scheduled for May 26 through June 1. The PGA Tour golf tournament is played on a Nicklaus-designed course in Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin. The bill was co-sponsored by 304 House members, including all members of the Ohio congressional delegation except for House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, who rarely co-sponsors bills because of his leadership position.
It’s the second year that Ohio lawmakers, including Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, and Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, have pushed for the award. A similar measure passed the House last year but never passed the Senate.
Tiberi and Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, spoke in support of the bill on the floor. “Jack Nicklaus is truly a living legend. His accomplishments on the golf course are amazing, but the work the Golden Bear does to help those in need, especially children, is truly remarkable,” Tiberi said.
The measure was one of a handful passed on Monday that would award Congressional Gold Medals. The House also passed a measure that would honor the Doolittle Raiders, a group of 80 men who flew a raid on Tokyo, Japan, on April 18, 1942, that provided a much-needed shift in morale and helped change the course of World War II. Four Raiders remain alive today, among them Lt. Col. Richard “Dick” Cole of Dayton.