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, who lives in Worley, Idaho, has two adult children and three grandchildren. In her lifetime, Jeanne has owned 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 teenagers were harassing kids and older people. Her activism goes back over many, many years.
She has held many positions within 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, which is North Idaho’s yearly fundraiser. 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 the state level, Jeanne’s impact and activism have 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.
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 including working at the Sun Valley Animal Center, advertising sales for the family’s television company, and in-flight operations with Horizon Air. She has also worked for Sun Valley Aviation as the fixed-base operator, servicing private aircraft. In addition, Michelle 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 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.
The Idaho Democratic Women’s Caucus recognizes the immeasurable contributions by IDWC founder and lifetime Democrat Jeanne Buell. She is a longtime Idaho Democratic Party leader and we are thrilled that her efforts are finally being recognized by our organization. She is currently the vice chair of the Idaho Democratic Party and has long labored in the trenches working hard to advance the principles that guide Democrats. She has been an instrumental and dedicated contributor to the Party building efforts of the Idaho Democrats and the IDWC for many, many years. We are so grateful for her leadership and how she leaders others by example.
Read more about her nomination here.
State Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett was recognized for her dedication and leadership in state politics by fellow members of the IDWC. Michelle’s commitment to bring respectful, collaborative, smart governing to the Idaho Legislature is an example to women statewide. We celebrate her contributions and support her efforts to create a state government that is transparent and accessible to everyone.
Read more about her nomination here.