State Policy Network
2018 Bob Williams Awards: Best Issue Campaign Nominees

The nominations for the Bob Williams Awards for Outstanding Policy Achievement are in! Thank you to everyone who took the time to nominate a state-based organization this year.

These organizations’ efforts to increase Americans’ freedom and prosperity are truly inspiring. Since all nominees have done great things in their states, we wanted to take a minute to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments shared through the Bob Williams Awards nomination process. The winners in each category will be announced at SPN’s 26th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City on October 9-12, 2018. In the meantime, please join us in congratulating these think tanks on their nominations in the “Best Issue Campaign” category.

Best Issue Campaign

This category recognizes organizations that ran exceptional issue education campaigns, demonstrating successful execution on several fronts including strategic thinking, exemplary use of outreach tactics, ability to reach target audiences, and team alignment.

Badger Institute – Occupational Licensing Reform
In April 2017, the Badger Institute launched a successful campaign in Wisconsin to raise public awareness of the harms of occupational licensing and advance meaningful reforms in the Legislature. The campaign included research and reports, personal stories told in articles and videos, and even helping people impacted by the licensing laws testify and share their stories before committees.

Beacon Center of Tennessee – “Rigged: The Injustice of Corporate Welfare”
The Beacon Center published a mini-documentary sharing the story of two furniture store owners near Memphis who found themselves competing with IKEA after the furniture giant was awarded $10 million to open a store near their locations. The documentary received many awards and media attention, making corporate welfare a primary issue for candidates running for state office.

The Buckeye Institute – Worker Voting Rights
The Buckeye Institute created a comprehensive campaign to advance labor freedom in Ohio. The campaign included a gamut of well-executed strategies including research and sample legislation as well as outdoor advertising to targeted advertising.

California Policy Center – Parent Union
The California Policy Center created the Parent Union project to empower parents as they navigate the experience of educating their children.  Most of the nearly 1,000 members come from low-income and minority communities, and the Parent Union offers these parents a voice, educational tools, and a way of holding school officials accountable for decisions that impact their children’s chance for success.

Commonwealth Foundation – Restoring the Dignity of Work
Welfare spending is a major contributor to Pennsylvania’s economic stagnation and fiscal instability. It is also causing healthy individuals to become trapped in the cycle of poverty. The Commonwealth Foundation produced a comprehensive report, “Restoring the Dignity of Work,” detailing case studies on the dramatic, positive results of work requirements. Their evidence and stories convinced policymakers to pursue change, and two work requirement bills passed in the House this year.

Foundation for Government Accountability – Farm Bill 2018: The Power of Work
Beginning last year, the Foundation for Government Accountability launched a successful multi-pronged campaign to lift millions of American from dependency by expanding food stamp work requirements. Through strategic polling, new research, and an effective outreach strategy, FGA equipped policymakers with helpful facts, stories of lives changed by work, and evidence of the public’s support for work requirements. In June 2018, the House of Representatives passed a Farm Bill that includes provisions to eliminate loop holes in the existing work requirement and expands work requirements to cover parents and middle-aged able-bodied workers.

Illinois Policy Institute/Liberty Justice Center – Janus v. AFSCME Education Campaign
The Liberty Justice Center launched a successful campaign to offset the union’s misinformation campaigns and educate the public on what Janus v. AFSCME was actually about. The campaign included a dedicated website,, and thousands of news articles featuring the case and Mark Janus.

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty – Expanding the Statewide School Voucher Program
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty worked with School Choice Wisconsin and the American Federation of Children to expand access to the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program and remove enrollment caps and increase the income level to match Wisconsin’s other parental choice programs. The Institute’s video, research, and reports helped lead to a 220% increase in the income limits, expanding access to school choice to middle class families throughout the state.

Yankee Institute –Toll Trolls
The Yankee Institute launched a successful awareness campaign to educate the public on the impact of adding tolls to Connecticut roads. Their visual of 72 “toll trolls” in a demonstration on the state house lawn generated significant press coverage and prompted residents to push back on the proposal.

See the nominees in other categories

The winners in each category will be announced at SPN’s 26th Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT (October 9-12, 2018). To join us, register here.

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