Independence Institute celebrates its 31st annual Founder’s Night

Colorado Secretary of State presents an award to Second Amendment activist Steve Schreiner at the Independence Institute's 31st annual Founder's dinner. (SOS photo)
Colorado Secretary of State presents an award to Second Amendment activist Steve Schreiner at the Independence Institute’s 31st annual Founder’s dinner. (SOS photo)

You know the Independence Institute’s Founder’s dinner Thursday night had to be good when president Jon Caldara said so many tickets were sold it was their most successful fundraiser ever — depending on Tom Tancredo’s bar tab.

Tancredo served as former president of the self-proclaimed free-market think tank before becoming a congressman, presidential candidate and gubernatorial candidate. He didn’t belly up to the bar much but he appeared to appreciate the speeches from the keynote speakers, John Fund with the National Review and Stephen Moore at The Heritage Foundation.

Independence Institute President Jon Caldara and his 13-year-old daughter Piper. (SOS picture)
Independence Institute President Jon Caldara and his 13-year-old daughter Piper. (SOS picture)

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams presented the institute’s annual Vern Bickel award to Steve Schreiner, whom the institute billed as “Colorado’s unsung grassroots hero for our Constitutionally protected right to bear arms.” Schreiner is a familiar figure at the statehouse, where he lobbies on gun measures.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman presented the David S. D’Evelyn Award to the Swalm family. Paul Swalm served in the state House with Tancredo where he “fought for free markets, limited government and liberty for all Coloradans,” according to the think tank’s program brochure.  His son, Spencer, also served in the state House and joined the family onstage.

Among those present at the event were state Sen. John Cooke of Weld County, whose wife Amy Oliver Cooke is the executive vice president of the Independence Institute, Steve House, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and his predecessor, Ryan Call.

Steve Schreiner, Richard Sokol and Richard Westfall enjoy themselves before the Independence Institute’s Founder’s dinner Thursday night. Schreiner, a Second Amendment advocate, received an award from the think tank. (SOS picture)