The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s (IFF) second annual Freedom and Celebration Banquet will take place May 19 at the Nampa Civic Center.
This year, the foundation is bringing in two extraordinary speakers in Congressman Raul Labrador and political activist Andrew Breitbart.
Breitbart has become a mover and shaker in the political world during the last seven years making appearances on Dennis Miller’s radio show, FOX News late night show “Red Eye,” and he even wanders into the lion’s den occasionally on “REAL Time” with Bill Maher.
Labrador is Idaho’s 1st District congressman and a former state legislator from Eagle. He is serving his first term in Congress after defeating Vaughn Ward in the GOP primary then knocking off incumbent Walt Minnick in last November’s general election.
In an interview with IdahoReporter.com, Breitbart explained his calm demeanor despite being on the national stage. “I started doing public media when my first book, “Hollywood Interrupted,” came out in 2004, a book I did with Mark Ebner. The publisher gave us media training courses. Just being in a room with a camera where I knew only the media training people would watch me made me nervous, no that’s not the right word, petrified (is) … I just kept doing it and doing it and I was unbelievably self-conscious. Now, seven years later, the thing that I wanted to happen was to be able to think on the fly and not have preplanned things to say. I’m at that place now and it’s probably the thing I most proud of.”
With all of the national attention and publicity, what motivates Breitbart to speak at Tea Party events, and functions such as the IFF banquet? “I can go out to a Tea Party event without prepared remarks, and I meet the people beforehand, and I see how committed they are to the same things that I’m committed to. When I go up and grab the microphone I feel like an electrical shock has gone through my body and I feel more alive than I’ve ever felt because I am connecting with that audience. This is a battle right now out there to save the conscience and the soul of the American system. So I have to go there. It’s the energy that gives that gets me to fight the fight.”
Last year’s IFF banquet brought in 160 guests. This year there have already been more than 250 tickets sold. Steve Owen, the event coordinator for IFF, is confident the attendance will climb even higher. “I think we could end up doubling what we had last year for attendance and that’s very exciting to see that people see a value in who IFF is and in our mission. We have come a long way in a year.”
Also during last year’s banquet, a silent auction was held. The value of the prizes won was around $2,000. This year, there are already more than 100 items that have been donated for the silent auction with a value of around $10,000, according to Owen. “Through all of our events and through all of our media coverage, and also our work at the Idaho Legislature, people know who we are this year. IFF is almost a household word now,” says Owen.
Wayne Hoffman, IFF’s director, said that one of the differences this year compared to last year is that IFF solicited sponsors and co-hosts for the banquet. “There are a number of very prominent people from all over the state who are putting their names behind our event and I think that’s a reflection on not just the fact that we had an impact on this legislative session, but the fact that we’re able to get information out to people about what’s happening on a public policy level. I think it reflects the credibility and the influence that we have that people respect what it is we’re trying to accomplish.”
For ticket and event information visit www.idahofreedom.net.
Note: IdahoReporter.com is a product of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.