The news is so full of pontificating politicians, talking heads, and statements from spokespeople that it’s easy to lose sight of the American people who are supposed to be at the heart of it all. As it turns out, however, there are many citizens who are working hard to stand up for their freedom and keep government abuse in check. To highlight and celebrate their accomplishments on behalf of their communities and their country, The Washington Times has been running a series of stories by Watchdog reporters featuring America’s “Unsung Heroes” – citizens across the country who are successfully fighting for responsible government and individual rights.
Meet the “cookie ladies”
Kriss Marion was an organic farmer, not a fighter. But Wisconsin’s restrictive law on homemade baked goods forced this peaceful sustainable homesteader to fight back.
Like a lot of small farmers, Marion is constantly looking for ways to monetize her farm. Organic veggies don’t have a big profit margin, so she and others in her circle turned to baking. Before the business could get off the ground, however, Marion learned that in Wisconsin, selling muffins, cookies, brownies or any other such homemade baked goods could get her into trouble. In fact, she was told by inspectors at the Dane County Farmers Market not to do it – otherwise she would face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
It didn’t make sense to Marion that she could serve someone a muffin legally, but could not sell a muffin legally, so she became an activist against the absurd rule, helping to lobby legislators to pass the so-called “cookie bills.” The first proposal in 2013 failed, despite bipartisan support, so Marion is taking the fight to the courts, where the legal battle is moving through the slow discovery process.
Read more about Marion’s story in The Washington Times.
Mississippi activist making a difference for liberty
A mere three years ago, Elaine Vechorik didn’t imagine herself becoming a political activist. She was a small business owner, satisfied with making a success of her motorcycle restoration and parts shop. Then she decided to get involved in the political process.
Mississippi hasn’t been the same since.
Rather than focus on national issues, Vechorik prefers to stick with ones that directly affect Mississippi taxpayers. She’s done a lot to save her fellow citizens money. One of her biggest successes was helping to kill the state’s inspection sticker law, which charged $5 per sticker and cost the state money every year. For several years, the Mississippi House had passed bills to end the program, which gave garages $3 for the cursory inspection and $2 back to the state, but each year the bills died in the Senate. Vechorik’s photo illustrations and persistent calls to key legislators for action finally helped goad the Legislature into killing the program in 2015, a statewide election year.
Read more about Vechorik’s story at Watchdog.org.
Kristi Rosenquist tilts at windmills
Minnesota resident Kristi Rosenquist isn’t one to rest on her laurels.
This past spring, for example, she was hard at work battling the wind industry (yet again), trying to persuade members of the Minnesota Legislature that the state needs better noise standards for siting wind turbines because those spinning noise-makers are now allowed as close as 500 feet from residents’ homes.
The problem is that the state uses noise standards not designed for turbines, Rosenquist argues. She said the Minnesota needs to eliminate the standard and create a new one.
“That means, in my opinion, they shouldn’t build any more turbines until they have new siting standards,” she said.
This latest fight is just one of a long list of Herculean efforts by Rosenquist in the fight against big government and the green energy industry. The battle began with a personal battle to protect her own hobby farm…
Read more about Rosenquist’s story at Watchdog.org.
Help us find more heroes!
Do you know an unsung hero in your state? Our friends at State Policy Network are currently accepting nominations for the sixth annual Unsung Hero Award, generously sponsored by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation.
The Unsung Hero Award honors an individual whose work defines entrepreneurial public policy action in the spirit of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation’s founder and president, Helen Krieble. The winner will receive a cash prize of $25,000, an all-expense paid trip to this year’s Annual Meeting in Nashville, TN, and recognition during the conference. Additionally, the nominating organization will receive a $5,000 prize.
To nominate someone for SPN’s Unsung Hero Award, please submit your form here by July 6, 2016. All nomination details and response questions are available here.