The Dottie Stimpson award honors an IDWC member who has demonstrated perseverance, persistence, patience, passion, commitment and leadership. The award is named for IDWC co-founder Dottie Stimpson. Dottie’s work on behalf of the Democratic Party and the Women’s Caucus has been significant, and in this way we honor her loyalty, energy, and support. She was a long-time Democratic activist in Washington, D.C., before moving to Idaho in 1990. She was also a former Idaho Democratic National Committee member. In January 2001, the IDWC announced the first annual award in her name.
The award is presented annually at the winter meeting of the IDWC in Boise following the Frank and Bethine Church Gala in Boise.
2016 Stimpson Award Goes To…Rita Haggardt
Kind, sweet, humble, strong, opinionated, proud, thoughtful, caring, giving, loving, sharing, generous, inspiring, are words that best describe Rita.
Mrs Haggardt, Aunt Rita, Great Aunt, Mom (Alan Humphries Democrat Mom!!) Sister, teacher, best friend as well.Rita was born April 5th 1943 in Pocatello Idaho, she has a sister that lives in Salt Lake City, Brother that lives in Idaho Falls. And finds a best friend in Elaine Smith. Rita was married to Terry Haggardt (also a school teacher) for 31 years from 1967-1998, before he passed.
Rita was educated as a teacher at ISU, she taught for 32 years in Pocatello at Syringa Elementary before retiring, then another 13 years at ISU college of Education as the supervisor for student teachers, teaching college students how to teach..
Rita was President of the local IEA and sat on the State Board as well.
She is in the Retired Educators Hall of Fame as recognized by South East Idaho Educators.
Rita grew up Greek Orthodox but now calls the Trinity Episcopal Church home where she is beloved by all, and spends a great amount of time working in the soup kitchen supervising teams that feed the hungry.
Rita stays involved with Feed the 5000, she has chaired it as well.
She’s an active Zonta member both local and regional.
Held many leaderships positions in the American Association of University Women (AAUW).
She’s a Neighborhood Watch activist.
Alpha Omicron Pi International Social Sorority Alumni chapter President.
Delta Kappa Gama, Beta chapter current treasurer and past chair.
Active United Way volunteer.
In the early 2000’s received the Minnie Howard-Chamber “outstanding women of the year.” award.
Last month Rita was presented the Joy Morrison Humanitarian Award from the Portneuf Valley Interfaith Fellowship.
Rita is always supportive of the community and Democratic candidates.
When not busy she might be found with Elaine Smith at a symphony or play.
Rita Demopoulos Haggardt is a Pocatello native. Her parents immigrated from Greece as children. They met at a big fat Greek wedding. Rita grew up in the Triangle area where she made friends with other Eastern European, Asian, and Black children. They all attended Bonneville, Franklin and Pocatello High School together.
Her parents taught her the rewards of volunteerism in her faith as well as in the community. It started with Girl Scouts. She continues her commitment to Girl Scouts.
Now as an older adult, she continues to be of service. She is involved in service organizations as well as faith based organizations. She has been part of MY Brothers Table since its inception. That is 35 years ago. She also serves her faith on the Vestry and as their representative on the Feeding the 5000 committee.
Rita is active in Kiwanis, Zonta, the Democratic Party, Delta Kappa Gamma, NAACP, Pocatello Neighborhood Watch, American Legion Auxiliary, LWV, AAUW, AOTT alumnae and P.E.O. Chapter K.
She has received recognition for her commitment to her faith and community. She has been named a Minnie Howard recipient, The Ron Timpson Award from the NAACP, Black Belt Volunteer from Valley Pride and Volunteer service award during the 100th anniversary of Kiwanis. This holiday season she helped at the festival of trees, the Alternative fair and will be ringing the bell at Fred Meyers.
She is reminded daily of –Matthew 25:40 Truly I tell you, just as you did to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did unto me.
IDWC Honors Shelley Landry
Recipient of the 2015 Dottie Stimpson Award
Our Dottie Stimpson Awardee is originally from Vermont. However, she has lived in many places across the country. She spent most of her school years in California. After high school, she went on to college in Arkansas; two extremely different places.
Prior to getting involved in the world of politics, she had a career with a major airline. Working in the airline business allowed her to do what she loved; travel and lots of it. In the spirit of adventure, she moved to Idaho to settle down and start a family. She has raised three incredible teenage daughters with her husband David. The five of them are well known for their big road trips, traveling all across the country.
While her political career didn’t begin in Idaho until 2004, she comes from a long line of union members and a family who believed in the ballot box. Dinnertime was often a debate about the issues of the day.
Since beginning her career in politics in 2004, she has worked tirelessly towards change in Idaho. She has always been open to what her next calling for the cause is, and went whereever she was needed.
From campaign manager, to field organizer, to coordinated campaign director, to Regional Director in Idaho Congressional District 1 Office, to Executive Director of the Idaho State Democratic Party. She is currently the Region 4 Director for the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus. She never gives up and never says the job is too hard.
Her love of Democrats, her passion and drive to make a difference, spur her forward. Idaho is so lucky to have her talents and expertise back in Idaho.
As Director for Idaho Votes, she ensures that the party is never far from our partner’s minds.
Please welcome Shelley Landry, our recipient of the 2015 Dottie Stimpson Award.
Jeanne Buell Honored for Life-Time Achievement
I can’t imagine a more appropriate person upon which to bestow an award that honors “a woman who has demonstrated perseverance, persistence, patience, passion, commitment and leadership.” Jeanne typifies what it means to be an Idaho Democrat. She isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work. She is tough, cares deeply about her community and works tirelessly for our cause. When Jeanne is on a mission no one can resist her passion, she simply won’t take no for an answer.
Jeanne lives in Worley, Idaho. She has two adult children and three grandchildren. In her lifetime, Jeanne has had her own trucking business, and she can drive large trucks with the best of em”.She started her political career working to have an ordinance passed in Post Falls on the Spokane River bridge to stop loitering, where teen agers were harassing kids and older people. Her activism goes back over many, many years. She has held many positions with in the local and state Democratic Party. Starting as a volunteer and then Precinct Captain she was a mainstay of the Kootenai County Democratic Central Committee. She has also held officer positions in the county, one of which was treasurer for the Kootenai County Central Committee. Jeanne has served on the original committee that started the Democracy Dinner, North Idaho’s yearly fund raiser and she was awarded the Art Manley Life Time Achievement Award in 2009.
Whenever volunteers were needed at the county level, Jeanne was always there. On a the state level, Jeanne’s impact and activism has been felt there as well. From the beginning, Jeanne has help mold and craft the Democratic Party. She was involved in the startup planning of the IDWC in 1999 and President of the caucus in 2008-2009. She has also held the position of Vice Chairman of the Idaho State Party for many years. Her work also goes far beyond Party Politics. Women’s issues, public issues, labor issues and civil rights issues have always had Jeanne’s support and activism. As an example, Jeanne served on the Citizens to Repeal Right to Work for less Committee. She has vetted many a candidate at all levels, from local races to statewide races and she is always involved with the candidates to help on the campaigns.
During her tenure as Vice-Chair of the Idaho Democratic Party, Jeanne has attended every DNC meeting and also serves on the DNC Executive Board. Many times, her work with these meetings has come at great personal and financial sacrifice. Instead of spending time vacationing with her family and loved ones, she puts party and community first. As a member of the DNC Executive Board she fought countless hours for our State Partnership Funding. Without her voice and advocacy the State Party would be seriously underfunded. And she has played a major role in bringing quality speakers to our statewide functions. All of this and so very much more is always done not for the limelight or for glory, but because it is the right thing to do and Jeanne will always be there to get it done. This is why I am proud to place into nomination Jeanne Buell for the IDWC Dottie Stimpson Life Time Achievement award.
Michelle Stennett Receives Dottie Stimpson Award
An Idaho resident for 30 years, Michelle spent her childhood in California and in a dairy farming community in Wisconsin. Michelle’s rural roots brought her to central Idaho where she met and married Clint Stennett, who was raised in southern Idaho.
Michelle has a B.A. in International Relations – Environmental Studies, a B.A. in Latin languages, and a minor in Business from the University of Oregon. She holds a Certificat d’Etudes from the Universite de Poitiers and a Legislative Energy Horizon Institute certificate from the University of Idaho.
Michelle worked in developing countries and for a hunting/fishing lodge in Alaska before moving to Idaho. She has a diverse professional background: Advertising sales for the family’s television company operating two channels in south central Idaho, working at a veterinary hospital, the Sun Valley Animal Center, and in flight operations with Horizon Air and the fixed-base operator, Sun Valley Aviation, servicing private aircraft. She has a pilot’s license. Michelle worked several years both in Idaho and abroad for aid and philanthropic organizations implementing community-based solutions on projects such as clean water, grazing, sanitation, and famine relief.
Living in the Wood River Valley, Michelle enjoys being surrounded by beautiful places to fish, hunt, bike, horseback ride, ski, camp, and romp with her Golden Retriever, Teagan. She deeply values Idaho’s unparalleled quality of life.
Michelle Stennett represents District 26 in the Idaho State Senate which encompasses Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Lincoln Counties. She is the Minority Leader in the Idaho Senate and was the Minority Caucus Chair before. She serves on two committees: State Affairs and Resources & Environment which gives her the opportunity to push for the right to clean air and water, protect an individual’s personal life choices like directives and living wills from governmental intrusion, and facilitate partnerships that provide the best services for Idahoans. She is appointed to several interim committees focusing on natural resources, fisheries, and water issues.
Women in leadership bring different strengths to the conversation. Michelle is committed to bringing respectful, collaborative, smart governing to the Idaho Legislature.
Past Award Winners
2016 – Rita Haggardt
2015 – Shelly Landry
2014- Jeanne Buell (Special Life Time Achievement Award)
2014 – Michelle Stennett
2013 – Barbara Barber
2012 – Tamara Lee Poelstra
2011 – Betty Murphy
2010 – Carolyn Boyce
2009 – Deb Silver
2008 – Barbara Harris
2007 – Sally Gasser
2006 – Marilyn Howard
2005 – Sharon Van Slyke
2004 – Angie Neitzel
2003 – Lucille Randolph
2002 – Molly Lazechko
2001 – Virginia Cole