350 Attend Eighth Annual Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon


350 people attended The Maine Heritage Policy Center’s eighth annual Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon on Wednesday, breaking the previous attendance record of 312 in 2008.

CEO Tarren Bragdon addresses the crowd at MHPC's eighth annual Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon
350 people attended MHPC's Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon--record breaking attendance.

Governor-Elect Paul LePage and his wife, Ann, were in attendance.  The Governor-Elect, MHPC’s 2007 Freedom and Opportunity Award winner, discussed the role MHPC has had in advancing the conservative movement in Maine, and just how important our work will be as we collectively seek solutions to Maine’s most pressing challenges.  The message he sent was very clear; change is coming.

Governor-Elect Paul LePage (right) with Maine's next First Lady, Ann LePage, before the Governor-Elect addresses a private reception before the Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon.
Governor-Elect Paul LePage addresses the crowd.

This year’s Freedom and Opportunity Award winner is MHPC Founder and current Chairman Emeritus W. R. “Dick” Jackson.  MHPC’s Freedom and Opportunity award is given each year to an individual who has advanced liberty and prosperity throughout Maine.  Dick is more than deserving of the award.  His support of MHPC, since its inception eight years ago, and his commitment to the Constitution and the Free Market made Dick the natural choice to receive MHPC’s highest honor.

In honor of his contributions to The Maine Heritage Policy Center, and Maine’s conservative movement, we are pleased to rename our Center for Prosperity the “Jackson Center for Prosperity.”  Dick Jackson and the Jackson Center for Prosperity will forever serve as a reminder for all of Maine that lower taxes, less spending and limited government are the key to new jobs, individual freedom and long-term prosperity for Maine families.

(From Left to Right) MHPC Board President Mike Duddy, former MHPC CEO Bill Becker, founding MHPC board member Ron Trowbridge, 2010 Freedom and Opportunity Award Winner and MHPC founder and Chairman Emeritus W. R. "Dick" Jackson, current MHPC CEO Tarren Bragdon.

This year’s keynote address was given by Scott Rasmussen, president of the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, and one of the country’s most respected pollsters.

Scott addressed some key findings coming out of last week’s historic elections.  His message is an important one, and newly-elected majorities in the Maine Legislature should heed his words closely:  the Republican Party did not win on Election Day.  Rather, the Democrat Party lost.

2010 Freedom and Opportunity Luncheon Keynote Speaker Scott Rasmussen.

The new Republican majorities have been given a chance, not because voters have confidence in their ability to turn the state and country around, but because they were the alternative to the Democrat Party that voters believed have taken the country and state in the wrong direction.

This is good advice, and elected officials from all parties should pay close attention to this message.