In 2001 Debra received the "Champion for Racial Justice" award for her leadership toward racial equity.
In 2006 Debra received the "Children's Champion Award" from the Children's Defense Fund for promoting the health and well being of Minnesota's children.
In 2009 the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees named Debra "Legislator of the Year".
In 2007 the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association named Debra as "Legislator of the Year."
In 2009 Debra was recognized by the Minnesota Courts for her leadership to improve the administration of justice and for her untiring efforts to ensure meaningful access to the judicial system for all Minnesotans.
Debra received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Center for Elder Justice and Policy for a law she passed that will protect vulnerable adults from financial exploitation.
In 2008 Debra received a "Perfect Score" by Conservation Minnesota.
In 2015 Debra received the public service award from Minnesota County Attorneys Association for her efforts to enhance the quality of justice in Minnesota.