Issue #9 – Thursday, July 17, 2014
CHICHESTER – On Sunday, July 13th, liberty activists from all over the state gathered at the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance’s eleventh annual Liberty Dinner for the unveiling of the 2014 Liberty Rating and the announcement of the Legislator of the Year and Activist of the Year.
The event began with a cocktail reception at which current, past and prospective state representatives and senators mingled, exchanged war stories on the most recent legislative session, and glad-handed for their upcoming electoral campaigns.
The New Hampshire Liberty Alliance hosted a silent auction at which a wide variety of donated items were auctioned off to the highest bidders. All proceeds went to the NHLA’s PAC which makes financial contributions to pro-liberty candidates’ campaigns. The items included gift certificates to local businesses, jewelry, handmade soaps, gift baskets of chocolate, silver coins, local organic chicken and duck eggs, a swing dance lesson, and numerous others.
Mark Edge, cohost of Free Talk Live, skillfully served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Edge mentioned that he is a Lifetime member of the organization. He praised its members for serving as the vanguard of liberty in New Hampshire.
The NHLA’s Political Action Director Kevin Bloom recapped some of the highlights of the past legislative session, discussing both successes and defeats. New Hampshire Liberty Alliance Chairwoman Eileen Landies then introduced this year’s winner of the Activist of the Year award, voted on by the NHLA’s Board of Directors.
New Hampshire Liberty Alliance Activist of the Year
Michelle Levell was selected as Activist of the Year for her dedicated activism in the field of school choice and educational freedom. Levell homeschooled her three children, served as a board officer for Liberty Harbor Academy (a private school in Manchester) and for the Educational Choices Foundation in Windham. She volunteers for the Network for Educational Opportunity, a 501(c)(3) scholarship organization that benefits underprivileged families across the state. She also serves as Legislative Coordinator for the New Hampshire branch of Second Amendment Sisters. Levell previously served on the Board of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. She is currently a candidate for New Hampshire House – Rockingham District 7 (Windham).
New Hampshire Liberty Alliance Legislator of the Year
Landies then announced this year’s Legislator of the Year, determined by receiving the highest score on the NHLA’s Liberty Rating. The winner was Rep. Carol McGuire (r), Merrimack- District 29. McGuire was the only representative to earn the organization’s highest possible grade of A+ this year. McGuire, who was first elected in 2008, has been a tireless advocate for liberty in the State House. She has sponsored numerous bills and chairs the Executive Departments and Administration committee. McGuire has also served on the Board of the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers. This is McGuire’s second win; her first was in 2010, making her one of only two repeat winners; the other is Mark Warden (r) Hillsborough- District 39.
As Landies announced the winner and introduced McGuire, volunteers handed out copies of this year’s Liberty Rating to all attendees. The Liberty Rating awards a letter grade from A through F, with an additional grade below F of CT for Constitutional Threat, to every state representative and senator, based on their roll call votes on a list of bills specifically selected by NHLA volunteers for their impact on the liberty of state residents.
The keynote presentation of the evening was delivered by Lee McGrath of Institute for Justice, who spoke on asset forfeiture. He discussed how New Hampshire compares to other states, recent legislation that was put forth to try to eliminate civil asset forfeiture in the state. McGrath commended specific New Hampshire activists who have been working on the forefront of this issue.