I had the pleasure last year of attending the 2009 Sammies Awards ceremony in Chicago held by the Sam Adams Alliance. The awards honor the country’s finest in citizen leadership and political activism — and I met some amazing grass-roots leaders, entrepreneurs, creative artists and whistleblowers. The group has just announced the 2010 winners, including our friend and Tea Party foremother Keli Carender. More info on tickets for the awards ceremony on April 16 here. Congrats to all the winners!
The Sammies are awarded in six categories and include cash prizes totaling $20,000. The categories include Blogger, Watchdog, Video, Town Hall, Tea Party and the premier award, Modern-Day Sam Adams.
Brian Costin of Schaumburg, Ill., won the $3,000 Watchdog Award for advancing transparency and exposing waste in the village of Schaumburg. As a result of his work, the village shut down one of the country’s most lucrative red light cameras. Costin saved taxpayers $15 million after exposing a fraudulent tax-break scam and, moreover, built a government transparency website when the village rejected his transparency measures. His work has been featured on the local Fox and ABC affiliates, Chicago Tonight, as well as in the Daily Herald and Chicago Tribune.
John Papola of Verona, N.J. and Russ Roberts of Potomac, Md. won the $3,000 Video Award for their video “Fear the Boom and Bust,” which boils down the complex economic theories of John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek into a highly entertaining 5 minute, 26 second rap anthem. With over one million YouTube views, the video has been translated into a dozen languages and won praise from PBS, NPR, CNBC, the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times, among others.
Keli Carender, of Seattle, Wash., won the $3,000 Town Hall Award for challenging Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA) to personally take her $20 bill to pay for government health care, directly illustrating the demands the bill would make on taxpayers. Well-known as “Liberty Belle,” Keli has also been active in the Tea Party movement from its beginnings, and regularly blogs at Redistributing Knowledge. She has been featured in the The New York Times and on NPR.
Jamie Radtke, of Richmond, Va., won the $3,000 Tea Party Award for her work in creating a coalition of almost 40 Tea Party and Patriot organizations in Virginia under the banner of the Federation of Virginia Tea Party Patriots. In addition, Mrs. Radtke mobilized the Federation membership and business community to recruit backers for the Health Care Freedom Act and to secure final passage. The bill received bi-partisan support and is now being used by the Attorney General of Virginia to challenge the constitutionally of President Obama’s health care bill.
David Frazier, of Boise, Idaho, won the $3,000 Blogger Award for his blog Boise Guardian, which exposes government waste and malfeasance at the state and local level. Frazier, whose suit against the City of Boise resulted in the 2006 “Frazier Decision” that requires Idaho municipalities to get voter approval for long term debt, has become the top source in Idaho on issues of public debt and urban financing. His blog is cited in state and local media on a weekly basis.
Ed Osborne of Wilmington, Del. won the $5,000 Modern Day Sam Adams award for his vigorous defense of property rights against eminent domain in Delaware. Osborne gained notoriety as an activist when he and 61 other Wilmington business owners received notification that their businesses were on the city’s property acquisition list. Osborne resisted government offers for his land, and instead went on to lead a three-year battle in the Delaware General Assembly for legislation against eminent domain abuse. Despite heavy opposition and a gubernatorial veto, the legislation eventually passed, and transformed Delaware’s once-vulnerable property rights environment into one that protects private ownership.