This year’s breakfast had an amazing turnout despite the early hour and we had a fabulous meeting on this special day. Our keynote speaker, Liyah Babayah, gave a great speech entitled From the Crumbs of the American Dream. She spoke about her family’s genocide survival story and how they are healing from the violence they escaped in Baku, Azerbaijan. She also touched upon the importance of International Women’s Day and how it seems to be overlooked in the United States.
Our annual meeting also featured the presentation of our two annual awards. We had a total of ten nominees for our awards this year and the awards committee had a very difficult time deciding upon the winners.
The nominees for the Dottie Stimpson Award included Cherie Buckner-Webb, Elaine Smith, Sam Sandmire, Lori Burelle, Diana Rowe, Rebecca Schroeder, and Linda Simmons. This year’s winner was Representative Elaine Smith of Pocatello, who is retiring after this year. You can read more about our winner here.
There were three nominees for the Young Distinguished Woman Award and they included Paulette Jordan, Mary Kuehler, and Courtney Hamilton. This year’s winner was Courtney Hamilton of Ketchum. You can read more about our winner here.
All current executive board members were re-elected and we still have vacancies for Directors in regions 1, 2, and 7 at this point in time.
Elaine Smith is this year’s Dottie Stimpson Award winner and has served the state of Idaho in the legislature since her first election in 2012. She has been the minority caucus chair in the Idaho House of Representatives for the past four years and has also served on the House State Affairs Committee as one of three Democrats. She also serves on the other committees: Business; Environment, Energy, and Technology; JLOC and PNWREC, which includes the Pacific Northwest and Northwest Canada. As a legislator, she has honored by the Idaho Education Association with the Friend of Education award.
Elaine Smith’s legislative career has helped make Idaho a better place for everyone. She helped establish concussion protocols in youth sports in Idaho and establish legal immunity to people who break into a hot car to save a child. She also co-sponsored a bill in 2020 that establishes Idaho Women’s Day. Her legislative goals are working for a stronger more prosperous Idaho, preparing the next generation of Idahoans for the 21st Century economy, investing in our schools, ensuring that Idaho public land remain in public hands, and fostering a robust business climate that supports entrepreneurs.
She is a member of a variety of organizations including the Pocatello Chiefs (Chamber of Commerce), AAUW, AOP, American Legion Auxiliary, Southeast Idaho Retired Educators, Delta Kappa Gamma, NAACP, and PEO. She had a 25-year career with Pocatello-Chubbuck School District 25, where she worked as a volunteer services business partnerships coordinator.
She has been honored with the Minnie Howard award formally Athena Award, School District 25 Employee Service Award, Delta Kappa Gamma State Achievement Award, and Golden Gift Class Leadership Training. Elaine is a font of knowledge about the Legislature and always comes prepared and on time. She represents all of her community, not just those members who voted for her on Election Day. Her most treasured jobs are wife, Mom of three and Grandmother of six.
Courtney Hamiton was nominated for this award by Kathyrn Goldman and she is the first elected official to win this award since its inception. She has worked on state legislative district 26 campaigns, managed Blaine County Treasurer John David Davidson’s successful campaign for office and ran for Ketchum City Council in 2017 and won a seat.
As a new, young lawmaker, Courtney is empowering other young people to have a voice in the wider community as one of the instrumental leaders who founded the Wood River Valley Young Professionals. Leading by example, she has inspired more young people to participate in the democratic process and engage in civic and leadership activities.
The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus believes that it is important to recognize young women who are making a difference in our state. Courtney serves a role model in her community and shows that public office is possible even at a young age.
The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus wholeheartedly invite Democratic Women throughout Idaho to our Annual Membership Meeting. The Meeting is on Sunday, March 8, 2020, at 7:30 am at the Riverside Hotel, which is located at 2900 W. Chinden Blvd. in Boise. Tickets to the breakfast are $35.00 per person and can be bought on Eventbrite.
We are proud to announce that our featured speaker will be Armenian refugee and businesswoman Liyah Babayan. Her talk is titled, “From the Crumbs of the American Dream”. She will sell her book, Liminal: A Refugee Memoir and sign books after breakfast.
We encourage all Idahoans to join our organization and to work together in electing more Democratic Women into public office. To become a member or renew your existing membership, you must complete the Registration Form and pay the annual membership dues. Annual membership dues are $20. Seniors (65 and older) and students can join for $10. Members are encouraged to attend and participate in the breakfast meeting as we will be electing the Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus Secretary and Treasurer along with Regional Directors for regions 2, 4, and 6.
Although our annual membership meeting centers on enjoying a great breakfast and discussion, the agenda also includes the election of individuals to the above=aforementioned leadership positions. We will also be filling vacant positions for a Regional Director in Region 1 and 7. Therefore, we encourage our members to stand for election. Consequently, if you wish to be considered for an open position, please submit your name and a summary of your qualifications to Gini Ballou. If you seek to hold a Regional position, please include the region. Region information is available on our Officer page.
Additionally, don’t forget that we are seeking nominees for the Dottie Stimpson and the Distinguished Woman awards. The Stimpson award honors an IDWC member who demonstrates perseverance, persistence, patience, passion, commitment, and leadership. IDWC co-founder Dottie Stimpson inspired the award. The Distinguish Woman award, on the other hand, is a way for us to recognize the contribution of a rising star. You can submit a nominee by filling out the online Nomination Form. All nominees must be active IDWC Members. Submissions are due by February 26th.