On Saturday the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) held its fourth annual Freedom Celebration. Author and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin and Dr. Edmund Schweitzer were the featured speakers. The Freedom Celebration, which drew a crowd of 500, celebrates the organization’s commitment to limited government and individual liberty.
In past years the Celebration has attracted noted speakers including Stephen Moore from the Wall Street Journal, conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart, Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano and Frank VanderSloot from Melaleuca.
During the banquet, IFF recognized those in Idaho who have assisted in furthering the mission of the organization. Wayne Hoffman, IFF president, presented the awards. This year 17 Idahoans received awards:
- Darrel Deide, as a teacher, a school superintendent, a senator and as the leader of an organization devoted to promoting education choice and the reform of our education systems so that school boards, teachers and parents can be more powerful and more influential than the bureaucracy, received the Education Innovation Award.
- Rep. Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, won the Policy Innovation Award for his work to insist that the federal government honor a commitment from 1890 to put control of Idaho’s public lands back into the hands of Idahoans.
- Wayne Beck received the Pioneer Award. Beck passed away this year, but during the 1960s and 1970s he fought central planning and laws that restrict private property.
- Dr. Loel Fenwick won the Patriot Award. During the fight on the insurance exchange, he made sure that every single day he would give new information to lawmakers, not just on how bad the exchange is and why they should vote no, but what they can vote yes on, what they can support that would advance free market solutions.
- Lorna Finman received a Patriot Award. Ms. Finman is tireless in her effort to advance freedom in Idaho, primarily in education reform and health care.
- Stan Hawkins won the Ralph Smeed Lifetime Achievement Award named after the noted Idaho libertarian.
- Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, received an award for being the top freshman legislator to fight against the implementation of a state insurance exchange.
Also receiving awards were the Top 10 percent in both the House (7) and Senate (3) for their rankings on the 2013 Freedom Index. The rankings were based on bills during the 2013 legislative session that impacted freedom and liberty.
House members recognized included Reps. Steven Harris, R-Meridian; Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene; Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton; Judy Boyle, R-Midvale; Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene; Lenore Hardy-Barrett, R-Challis and Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home.
Senate members included Sens. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens; Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene; and Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth.