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Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson received the Presidential Citizens Medal

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson received the Presidential Citizens Medal

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal on Friday, with President Joe Biden saying she helped keep the will of voters safe in the November 2020 election.

“Full of integrity, she is a true leader in our nation,” Biden said of Benson.

The White House ceremony awarded Benson and 13 others the nation’s second-highest civilian honor on the two-year anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021 riots at the U.S. Capitol. All medalists were involved in organizing the election or responding to the uprising. Other honorees included two Georgia poll workers falsely accused of ballot rigging; Arizona’s Speaker of the House, who opposed his peers’ push to overturn the vote; and Capitol Police officers, including two who died after the Jan. 6 attack.

“History will remember your names,” Biden said.

“To stand with people who have guarded the election results and others in the Capitol to receive this recognition is truly extraordinary,” Benson said. “And it gives me great hope that at a challenging moment for our democracy, we can hopefully move forward and see our democracy emerge even stronger than ever.”

Biden specifically praised Benson for refusing to overturn the results despite threats.

“An armed mob outside her home on Christmas Eve as she and her son decorated their Christmas tree inside, but she refused to back down,” Biden said.

Benson said she was just doing her job.

“While there were moments when I felt personally offended … there was always a sense of duty and responsibility in standing up for the will of the voters,” she said, “and I was very proud of that.”

She urged Americans to remember their own role in preserving democracy.

“For me, seeing that up close and being on the front lines really brings back a sense of the fragility of our democracy and the importance of having people of integrity on both sides of the aisle,” she said.

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