FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MISSOULA, MT -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana announced today that it has selected three distinguished Montanans -- Dorothy Eck, Sue Bartlett, and John Kuglin -- to receive the organization's highest award, named after ACLU's first vice-president, Jeannette Rankin.
They will be honored at a ceremony this Saturday, according to Scott Crichton, Executive Director of the ACLU of Montana.
"These three individuals embody the spirit of Jeannette Rankin," Crichton said. "They are uniquely Montanan, yet they are universal citizens. They understand that 'liberty and justice for all' means exactly that, for all of us."
"We are expecting quite an exceptional evening knowing how many people will want to be there for the awards presentations to these outstanding citizens," he added.
John Kuglin, a journalist, is being honored for his individual and collective contributions as an advocate and founding father and Chairman of the Montana Freedom of Information Hotline. Since its inception in 1988, the Hotline has defended Article II, Section 9 of the Montana Constitution, the Right to Know. Kuglin has tirelessly worked to see that the Open Meeting Law and the Public Records Law are adhered to. The law firm of Reynolds, Motl and Sherwood have operated the Hotline for 12 years.
Dorothy Eck has had a long and distinguished career in and around government. She has been a leader of the League of Women Voters for decades. She called for and later served in the 1972 Constitutional Convention. She has lobbied on behalf of the League and she has served in government, both in the Governor's office and in the Senate. Eck has worked to open government to the people and has successfully encouraged women to participate in all levels of government. From the Constitutional Convention, Eck will long be remembered as the person who recognized the distinct and unique cultural heritage of the American Indian in the Montana Constitution.
Sue Bartlett also has an impressive career in public service. Before first running for office, Bartlett worked at the Office of Public Instruction and then the Department of Labor. She served as the Lewis and Clark County Clerk for eight years, and then served in the Montana Senate for eight years.
During the 1997 Legislative Session, Bartlett served as the only woman on the Senate Judiciary Committee. She has been vigilant of the rights of the least of us, and has consistently and persistently defended civil liberties both in committee and on the Senate floor. She successfully sponsored legislation to improve public policy on a variety of issues, including revising child labor laws, and making government more accessible and accountable.
Previous recipients of the Jeannette Rankin Civil Liberties Award include:
- HON. JOHN C. "SKEFF" SHEEHY (1991)
- FRANCIS BARDANOUVE, MT LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (1992)
- JANINE PEASE PRETTY ON TOP, PAT WILLIAMS (1993)
- PAT REGAN, CHET BLAYLOCK, CATHY CARLSON (1994)
- STEVE POWELL, DIANE BENJAMIN, DR. JIM ARMSTRONG (1995)
- VIVIAN BROOKE, CLYDE JARVIS (1996)
- NEIL HAIGHT, GORDON BENNETT (1997)
- EARL OLD PERSON (1998)
- LINDA GRYCZAN, BOB CAMPBELL (1999)