WASHINGTON - WTOP's Capitol Hill Correspondent Dave McConnell received the first-ever Career Achievement Award from the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association.
McConnell, an employee of WTOP since 1965, covers Capitol Hill and has done so for more than three decades.
"For all the time he has covered the Hill, Dave has been a voice of reason, of moderation and of fairness set against the backdrop of partisan hyperbole and the political intrigues that often distract from the issues Americans care about. His has always been the way of careful investigation, clear-headed interpretation and honest reporting," says House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle say they respect McConnell's reporting.
"I don't think there's any correspondent who is better known, better respected and better informed than Dave McConnell," says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D- Calif.
"I can't really think of a Capitol press corps without thinking of Dave McConnell. He's been the Rock of Gibraltar," says Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R- Ky.
The two are among several who honored McConnell during a 1 minute, 30 second video tribute. Rep. Chris Van Hollen and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, botth Democrats, also paid their respects.
McConnell thanked his family and WTOP management for the award, pointing out that it takes a lot of people to make such a distinguished career possible.
Calling Congress "the greatest show in Washington," McConnell still said that despite the partisan bickering, lawmakers came together to honor the work of Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey senator who died Monday at age 89.
Hoyer also joked about McConnell's longevity.
"We've had relatively parallel careers, although he's been much more successful than I have been," Hoyer said, drawing a few laughs.
"Broadcasting in Washington for more than 45 years. Hey, that's even longer than me," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., whose political career began in Baltimore in 1971.
Even McConnell himself poked fun at his age and long career, talking about the history of the National Building Museum, the location of the Radio and Television Correspondents dinner.
"It was built back in the 1880s during the administration of President Chester A. Arthur. I did not cover Chester A. Arthur," he said.
McConnell is the only full time Capitol Hill correspondent for a local radio station in the entire country.
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