Morrison Exon Annual Awards

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.

The year’s event is tentatively set for Oct. 2 in Omaha

 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.

Carrie Howard 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.

2020 Award Recipients

Bob Kerrey Volunteer Award Emma Craig
Bob Kerrey Volunteer Award Denise Blaya Powell
Bob Kerrey Volunteer Award Leanne Prewitt
Bob Kerrey Volunteer Award Chair Kris Kinzie
Ben Nelson County Party Volunteer Award Chair Janet Chung
Frank LaMere Hall of Fame Award Trevor Fitzgerald
Carrie Howard Sunshine Award Yolanda Chavez Nuncio
Anne Boyle Young Democrat Award James Michael Bowers
State Party Chair Award (individual names per award) Senator Justin Wayne ; Board Member Kimara Snipe ; Black Caucus Chair Precious McKesson ; Jasmine Harris ; Alisha Shelton
State Senator Courage Award Senator Carol Blood

Past 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 Carrie Howard Sunshine Brian Mikkelsen
2018 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Lauren Williams
2018 Morrison Exon Delmer Adam
2018 State Chair Big Mama’s Kitchen


Year Award Winner
2017 Bob Kerrey CD1 Mike Pittz
2017 Bob Kerrey CD2  Rachel Huggins
2017 Bob Kerrey CD3  Terry Wegner
2017 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service  Meg Mandy
2017 Carrie Howard Sunshine Patsy Koch-Johns Volunteers–Inonge Kasaji, Kaylie Schnittker-Hogan, Cooper Christiancy, Brodey Weber, Michael Maly and Maluba Mudundulu
2017 John F. Kennedy  Mina Davis
2017 Franklin Delano Roosevelt  Frank LaMere
2017 Hall of Fame Senator Rick Kolowski
2017 Morrison-Exon  John Quirk
2017 State Chair  Janet Stewart and Stephanie Matejka


Year Award Winner
2016 Bob Kerrey CD1 Tom Havelka
2016 Bob Kerrey CD2 Susan Tafini
2016 Bob Kerrey CD3 Bud Pettigrew
2016 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Paige Hutchinson
2016 John F. Kennedy Jose Jimenez
2016 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Dennis Crawford
2016 Hall of Fame Senator Paul Hartnett
2016 Morrison-Exon Sharlette Schwenninger
2016 Carrie Howard Sunshine Kathy Moore-Jensen
2016 State Chair Charlene Ligon


Year Award Winner
2015 Bob Kerrey CD1 Ellen Moore
2015 Bob Kerrey CD2 Romona Lisa Fricke
2015 Bob Kerrey CD3 Ismael Valadez
2015 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Meg Mikolajczyk
2015 John F. Kennedy Marque Snow
2015 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Tom Tilden
2015 Hall of Fame Dave Newell
2015 Morrison-Exon John Yoakum
2015 Carrie Howard Sunshine Dave Domina
2015 State Chair Andy Holland


Year Award Winner
2014 Bob Kerrey CD1 Marta Nieves
2014 Bob Kerrey CD2 Bryon Line
2014 Bob Kerrey CD3 Shaun Baker
2014 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Jeremy Nordquist
2014 John F. Kennedy Lacey Merica
2014 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jim “Doc” Moore
2014 Hall of Fame Senator Bob Kerrey
2014 Morrison-Exon Charlene Ligon
2014 Carrie Howard Sunshine Amanda McGill
2014 State Chair Deena Province


Year Award Winner
2013 Bob Kerrey CD1 Jon Rehm
2013 Bob Kerrey CD2 Susan Tafini
2013 Bob Kerrey CD3 Terry Sigler
2013 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Bob Holmstedt
2013 John F. Kennedy Rebekah Caruthers
2013 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Peg O’Dea Lippert
2013 Hall of Fame
2013 Morrison-Exon Jeff Leanna
2013 Carrie Howard Sunshine Joey Adler
2013 State Chair Ken Mass


Year Award Winner
2012 Bob Kerrey CD1 Mary Herres
2012 Bob Kerrey CD2 Shelisa Minnifield
2012 Bob Kerrey CD3 Deena Province
2012 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service
2012 John F. Kennedy Bri McLarty
2012 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Lanny Munson
2012 Hall of Fame Benjamin Nelson
2012 Morrison-Exon Bud Pettigrew
2012 Carrie Howard Sunshine Chuck Hassebrook
2012 State Chair


Year Award Winner
2011 Bob Kerrey CD1 Bennie Shobe
2011 Bob Kerrey CD2 Joe Higgins
2011 Bob Kerrey CD3 Judy Vohland
2011 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Jim Rogers & Missy Wigley
2011 John F. Kennedy Karlee Coleman
2011 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Joan Killingsworth
2011 Hall of Fame Don Eret
2011 Morrison-Exon Bill Forsee & Christa Yoakum
2011 Carrie Howard Sunshine Jane Raybould
2011 State Chair Mayor Jim Suttle


Year Award Winner
2010 Bob Kerrey CD1 Becki Gaston
2010 Bob Kerrey CD2 Charlene Ligon
2010 Bob Kerrey CD3 Frank Johannsen
2010 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Danielle Conrad
2010 John F. Kennedy Crystal Rhoades
2010 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Ted Kessler
2010 Hall of Fame James Quigley
2010 Morrison-Exon Tom Brown
2010 Carrie Howard Sunshine Jan Osten
2010 State Chair John Yoakum


Year Award Winner
2009 Bob Kerrey CD1 John Yoakum
2009 Bob Kerrey CD2 Sandi Skorniak
2009 Bob Kerrey CD3 Bud Pettigrew
2009 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Mark Fields
2009 Hall of Fame Mike Fahey
2009 John F. Kennedy Jessica Rathbun
2009 Kathleen Fahey Service Kyle Michaelis
2009 Morrison-Exon Carol Blood
2009 Special Services to the State John Berge
2009 State Chair Award Chris Jerram


Year Award Winner
Year Award Winner
2008 Bob Kerrey CD1 Vic Covalt
2008 Bob Kerrey CD2 Peg O’Dea Lippert
2008 Bob Kerrey CD3 Carolee Koehn
2008 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Donna Noll
2008 Hall of Fame Don Preister
2008 John F. Kennedy Heath Mello
2008 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Vince Powers
2008 Morrison-Exon Marion Bahensky


2007 Bob Kerrey CD1 Rick Carter
2007 Bob Kerrey CD2 Phyllis Ebey
2007 Bob Kerrey CD3 Mike Zgud
2007 Franklin Delano Roosevelt Selma Mesner
2007 Hall of Fame Colleen Seng
2007 John F. Kennedy Jeremy Nordquist
2007 Kathleen Fahey Young Democrats of Service Bill Avery
2007 Morrison-Exon Duane Jones