Opening Remarks

as delivered by

IWF President

Carrie Lukas

at the

Independent Women's Forum 2018 Annual Awards Dinner

November 14, 2018


Carrie Lukas:

Good evening, everyone.  Wow look at this crowd! Welcome to IWF's Annual Award Gala.  And those of you who were here last year know that it was IWF‘s 25th anniversary of our founding, and I spoke a little bit about why IWF was created.  

Several amazing women got together, including the late Barbara Kay Olsen, after whom our Woman of Valor Award is named, and they wanted to create a group to represent women like them, women who believe in our founding principles, economic liberty, and personal freedom.  

They wanted a group to advance ideas that create better opportunities and better lives for both women and men.  And this year more than ever I'm so proud to say and so proud to see how IWF has been making good on their vision.  IWF was a leader in making the case for why everyone, Conservative and Liberal alike, should welcome a Supreme Court dedicated to the Constitution and the rule of law. Thank you 

IWF was at the forefront of defending the very foundation of our system of justice, calling for due process and the presumption of innocence.  IWF has been encouraging a robust debate about the best way to organize our safety net to make it more efficient and flexible, so it's there to help people when they need it most, but while encouraging personal responsibility and rewarding work.  IWF has been celebrating the dividends created by tax cuts and the elimination of government red tape.  We've been making the case for school choice and higher education reform, for a healthcare system that gives people more control and better options.  Thank you.

We research the misperceptions that drive people to support progressive policies and then find innovative ways to get them to the facts that show how less government and more freedom leads to better outcomes, more fairness, and more flourishing lives.  

I'm so proud of the team we have at IWF, and you see and hear from IWF and IWV spokeswoman every day.  Women like Nan Hayworth, Adele Malpass, Heather Higgins, Tammy Bruce, Claudia Rosett, Patrice Onwuka, Hadley Manning, Julie Gunlock, Kristin Shapiro, Charlotte Hayes, Inez Stepman, Jennifer Braceras, Erin Hawley, and Andi Bottner.  We are so thankful that all these great women are out there and making the case and changing the Conservative brand for the better.

Now, I'd like to quickly also think the unseen heroes of IWF, and that's our communications team.  Lead by Victoria Coley, who makes sure that our ideas and arguments aren't just reaching those who already agree with us, but they're reaching new audiences, from HBO's Vice, to Glamour Magazine, Bustle, The New York Times, What to Expect in Oprah Magazine.  IWF simply has the best comms shop in town with Michele Vogt, Ericka Andersen, Sekayi Stephens, Caroline Phelps, Elizabeth Tew, Cassie Alsfeld, Heather Madden, and Betsy Pearson, we are so fortunate to have all of you.  Thank you.

Now, it's really important we have got a great Board of Directors at IWF and I was so thrilled that all of our board of directors were involved tonight, and were big supporters.  That includes Chairman Heather Higgins, Abby Moffat, Yvonne Boice, Nan Hayworth, Giovanna Cugnasca, thank you, Adele Malpass, Myles Pollin, and Michaelon Wright.  

But most importantly, you know, all the supporters who are in this room tonight, none of our work would be possible without all of you, so, a special thanks to the Triad Foundation, we so appreciate your support, the Sarah Scaife Foundation, Bradley Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, Dick and Mary Beth Weiss, for your unwavering support of IWF and IWV over the years, and a diamond sponsor tonight.  A big thank you.

We had 25 members of our gala host committee, this is our biggest host committee and our biggest gala yet, and I'm just so thrilled to have everyone here.  

And we also have a lot of strong relationships and dedicated leaders and staff here with the administration and on the Hill, and that's no easy job these days, so we want to thank everyone here who is working to make this country better and stronger.  And that includes the White House’s Charmaine Yoest, she is the Associate Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and thank you for coming, Charmaine. David Malpass, the Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, Paul Teller, Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, Hannah Castillo, Associate Director for the Office of Public Liaison, Andeliz Castillo, Special Assistant to the President, Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of The Drug Enforcement Administration, Ken Marcus, Assistant Secretary of Education for Civil Rights, and then we are so thankful to have Senators Susan Collins and Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn here tonight.  Special thank you to all of them. Representative Gary Palmer, Representative Claudia Tenney, Representative John Faso, and Representative Peter Roskam, and many, many, other distinguished folks here this evening.

Finally, thank you, before I conclude, Amber Schwartz and Ashley MacLeay, thank you for this perfect venue.  What better place could there be than the Daughters of the American Revolution to be holding this event tonight for IWF.  Thank you for organizing this.  

And before, in just a moment everybody's going to have time to eat and mingle and talk to about your great guests, but I wanted to first invite Jessica Hulsey Nickel up to stage.  Jessica leads a really important organization, the Addiction Policy Forum, and IWF has been privileged to work with them in raising awareness about what individuals can do to prevent opioid addiction.  You may have noticed you all have a bag on your seats tonight, and Jessica is going to take just a moment to explain what that's all about.  Jessica, please come on up.