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2013 Conservative of the Year awards

Every year around this time CitizenOutreach.org recognizes several outstanding Nevada conservatives for their efforts on behalf of the limited-government movement. This year’s distinguished recipients are:

Geoff Lawrence: Geoff is an economist and deputy director of policy at the Nevada Policy Research Institute who, literally, wrote a book of free-market solutions to Nevada’s challenges (if only legislators would read it!).

He spent many weeks in Carson City during the last legislative session testifying in support of limited, accountable government and stood up to some of the state’s biggest special interests in the process. For his yeoman’s efforts on behalf of the conservative cause both before and during the 2013 legislative session, Geoff Lawrence is this year’s Conservative of the Year.

Amanda Collins: In 2007, Amanda was brutally raped in a parking garage on the campus of University on Nevada, Reno by the same man who raped and killed another young Reno woman, Brianna Dennison, a few weeks later. Although Amanda was a properly licensed concealed-carry permit holder, Nevada law prohibited her from carrying her weapon on campus.

In the last two legislative sessions, Amanda relived the horror of that night by recounting it before legislative committees and the media in an effort to pass a “campus carry” bill. The Legislature has told her to get lost twice. Undaunted, she intends to continue the fight in 2015. And for that, Amanda Collins is this year’s Courage Under Fire Award recipient.

Linda Barnett: A political odyssey that started as a 20-year-old volunteer on the McGovern campaign in 1972, to the libertarian party’s presidential campaign in 1976, to becoming a top lieutenant to Ed Crane, founder of the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute think tank, ultimately took Linda Barnett to Carson City where last year she organized and led an effort to put a proposed sales tax hike on the ballot. That library tax was rejected overwhelmingly by voters. Linda didn’t wait for orders from above. As a citizen activist she just dove in and took the bull by the horns — all without fame, acclaim or glory. As such, Linda Barnett is our conservative Unsung Hero Award recipient for 2013.

Nevada Firearms Coalition: For years Nevada gun owners have had to share their National Rifle Association lobbyist with California. But this year the newly formed Nevada Firearms Coalition was all over the Nevada Legislature. Under the guidance and leadership of Don Turner and Randy Mackie, the coalition kept gun rights supporters informed via regular emails, and activated its growing legion of advocates to show up at hearings, testify, make phone calls and send emails to both legislators and the media. As such, the Nevada Firearms Coalition is our conservative Grass-roots Organization of the Year for 2013.

Congratulations to these fine, dedicated and effective conservatives!

Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at chuck@citizenoutreach.com.