Ben Nelson Inaugural Gala

Each year at our annual fundraising event, the Morrison Exon dinner, we celebrate the volunteers and Party leaders who build and grow the Nebraska Democratic Party.

On June 29, 2018, the State Central Committee voted to approve changing names of our annual awards to reflect Nebraska leaders. Previously, our state party honored national Democratic leaders with awards named after them, however Chair Jane Kleeb and the leadership team believed it was critical we honor Nebraska leaders with our award names.

Note that recipients of past awards are still listed on the NDP website.

 Award Descriptions

State Party Chair Award
Nominations are not accepted for this award. The State Party Chair designates a person in the Party for this annual award.

Sunshine Award
Nominees should be individuals who are dedicated to improving both the Nebraska Democratic Party and their community as an ally to our Democratic values. The award is open to any ally working or volunteering in the community and do not have to be serving in a party role. This award is given in honor of Carrie Howard, sister of Senator Sara Howard and daughter of Senator Gwen Howard.

Anne Boyle Young Democrat Award
Nominees for this award should be a young person (using the age criteria of the Young Democrats which is under 35-years-old) honored for their exceptional volunteer activities and participation within the Nebraska Young Democrats organization and the State Party. Commissioner Anne Boyle was the first woman to serve on the Public Service Commission and served three, six-year terms beginning in1996. Boyle was our State Party Chair from 1998 to 2001. Boyle was committed to lifting young people up and mentoring fellow Democrats.

Bob Kerrey Volunteer Award
Nominees for this award should be volunteers who personify the spirit of the Nebraska Democratic Party. The award is given to an individual who is tireless in supporting the Nebraska Democratic Party, county parties and candidates’ campaigns within District 1, 2, and 3, respectively. An award is given to one volunteer per Congressional District. Bob Kerrey served our state as Governor from 1983 to 1987, as a U.S.  Senator from 1989 to 2001 and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992. Kerrey served our nation on the 9/11 Commission and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his service during Vietnam as a Navy SEAL.

Ben Nelson County Party Volunteer Award
Nominees should be a County Party volunteer who has worked tirelessly to promote the activities and values of the Democratic Party in their county. Nominees should demonstrate a dedication to service, integrity, the organizing of their county party infrastructure, and support for local Democratic candidates. Senator Ben Nelson served our state as Governor from 1991 to 1999  and as U.S. Senator from 2001 to 2013. Nelson founded the CHIP program ensuring kids in our state had access to health insurance. A champion for the environment and property rights, Nelson denied a nuclear waste dump from being built in the Sandhills.

Frank LaMere Hall of Fame Award
Nominees should be a former or current elected County Party officer, State Party officer or an elected official who are dedicated to the principles of the Nebraska Democratic Party and who have contributed above and beyond the call of duty to the Nebraska Democratic Party along with local issues that impact the state and national level. This is the highest award given by the Nebraska Democratic Party. Frank LaMere was the first Native American to serve as a DNC member and he founded both the state and national Native American Caucus. LaMere was the longest serving Native American on the DNC. He was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention seven consecutive times from 1988 to 2012. LaMere also served as the NDP’s First Associate Chair. LaMere dedicated his life to social justice and helped close down illegal beer sales at Whiteclay, NE, just across the border from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.


Award Recipients

Year Award Winner
2019 Bob Kerrey CD1 Roger Eschliman
2019 Bob Kerrey CD2 Lilia Franciscony
2019 Bob Kerrey CD3 Haley Mazour
2019 Ben Nelson County Party Judy Vohland
2019 Frank LaMere Hall of Fame Senator Patty Pansing Brooks
2019 Carrie Howard Sunshine Lisa Fricke
2019 Anne Boyle Caleb Rohrer
2019 Anne Boyle Krystal Fox
2019 State Chair The Women of CD1:
Pastor Janet Banks
Adelle Burk
Sydney Rae Butler
Janet Chung
Marthaellen Florence
Mary Harding
Jessica McClure
Megan Mikolajczyk
Michele Tilley
Christa Yoakum
Laurie Martinez
Year Award Winner
2018 Bob Kerrey CD1 Shirl Mora James
2018 Bob Kerrey CD2 Scott Williams
2018 Bob Kerrey CD3 Tom Genung and Doc Moore
2018 John F. Kennedy Zachary Mora James
2018 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Senator Bob Kerrey
2018 Hall of Fame Senator Tony Vargas
2018 Sunshine Brian Mikkelsen
2018 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Lauren Williams
2018 Morrison Exon Delmer Adam
2018 State Chair Big Mama’s Kitchen
2017Bob Kerrey CD1Mike Pittz
2017Bob Kerrey CD2 Rachel Huggins
2017Bob Kerrey CD3 Terry Wegner
2017Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Meg Mandy
2017SunshinePatsy Koch-Johns Volunteers–Inonge Kasaji, Kaylie Schnittker-Hogan, Cooper Christiancy, Brodey Weber, Michael Maly and Maluba Mudundulu
2017John F. Kennedy Mina Davis
2017Franklin Delano Roosevelt Frank LaMere
2017Hall of FameSenator Rick Kolowski
2017Morrison-Exon John Quirk
2017State Chair Janet Stewart and Stephanie Matejka
2016Bob Kerrey CD1Tom Havelka
2016Bob Kerrey CD2Susan Tafini
2016Bob Kerrey CD3
Bud Pettigrew
2016Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServicePaige Hutchinson
2016John F. KennedyJose Jimenez
2016Franklin Delano RooseveltDennis Crawford
2016Hall of FameSenator Paul Hartnett
2016Morrison-ExonCharlotte Schwenninger
2016SunshineKathy Moore-Jensen
2016State ChairCharlene Ligon
2015Bob Kerrey CD1Ellen Moore
2015Bob Kerrey CD2Romona Lisa Fricke
2015Bob Kerrey CD3Ismael Valadez
2015Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceMeg Mikolajczyk
2015John F. KennedyMarque Snow
2015Franklin Delano RooseveltTom Tilden
2015Hall of FameDave Newell
2015Morrison-ExonJohn Yoakum
2015SunshineDave Domina
2015State ChairAndy Holland
2014Bob Kerrey CD1Marta Nieves
2014Bob Kerrey CD2Bryon Line
2014Bob Kerrey CD3Shaun Baker
2014Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceJeremy Nordquist
2014John F. KennedyLacey Merica
2014Franklin Delano RooseveltJim “Doc” Moore
2014Hall of FameSenator Bob Kerrey
2014Morrison-ExonCharlene Ligon
2014SunshineAmanda McGill
2014State ChairDeena Province
2013Bob Kerrey CD1Jon Rehm
2013Bob Kerrey CD2Susan Tafini
2013Bob Kerrey CD3Terry Sigler
2013Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceBob Holmstedt
2013John F. KennedyRebekah Caruthers
2013Franklin Delano RooseveltPeg O’Dea Lippert
2013Hall of Fame 
2013Morrison-ExonJeff Leanna
2013SunshineJoey Adler
2013State ChairKen Mass
2012Bob Kerrey CD1Mary Herres
2012Bob Kerrey CD2Shelisa Minnifield
2012Bob Kerrey CD3Deena Province
2012Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service 
2012John F. KennedyBri McLarty
2012Franklin Delano RooseveltLanny Munson
2012Hall of FameBenjamin Nelson
2012Morrison-ExonBud Pettigrew
2012SunshineChuck Hassebrook
2012State Chair
2011Bob Kerrey CD1Bennie Shobe
2011Bob Kerrey CD2Joe Higgins
2011Bob Kerrey CD3Judy Vohland
2011Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceJim Rogers & Missy Wigley
2011John F. KennedyKarlee Coleman
2011Franklin Delano RooseveltJoan Killingsworth
2011Hall of FameDon Eret
2011Morrison-ExonBill Forsee & Christa Yoakum
2011SunshineJane Raybould
2011State ChairMayor Jim Suttle
2010Bob Kerrey CD1Becki Gaston
2010Bob Kerrey CD2Charlene Ligon
2010Bob Kerrey CD3Frank Johannsen
2010Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceDanielle Conrad
2010John F. KennedyCrystal Rhoades
2010Franklin Delano RooseveltTed Kessler
2010Hall of FameJames Quigley
2010Morrison-ExonTom Brown
2010SunshineJan Osten
2010State ChairJohn Yoakum
2009Bob Kerrey CD1John Yoakum
2009Bob Kerrey CD2Sandi Skorniak
2009Bob Kerrey CD3Bud Pettigrew
2009Franklin Delano RooseveltMark Fields
2009Hall of FameMike Fahey
2009John F. KennedyJessica Rathbun
2009Kathleen Fahey ServiceKyle Michaelis
2009Morrison-ExonCarol Blood
2009Special Services to the StateJohn Berge
2009State Chair AwardChris Jerram
2008Bob Kerrey CD1Vic Covalt
2008Bob Kerrey CD2Peg O’Dea Lippert
2008Bob Kerrey CD3Carolee Koehn
2008Franklin Delano RooseveltDonna Noll
2008Hall of FameDon Preister
2008John F. KennedyHeath Mello
2008Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceVince Powers
2008Morrison-ExonMarion Bahensky
2007Bob Kerrey CD1Rick Carter
2007Bob Kerrey CD2Phyllis Ebey
2007Bob Kerrey CD3Mike Zgud
2007Franklin Delano RooseveltSelma Mesner
2007Hall of FameColleen Seng
2007John F. KennedyJeremy Nordquist
2007Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of ServiceBill Avery
2007Morrison-ExonDuane Jones