The Bradley Prize was awarded to four recipients at the 11th annual Bradley Prizes Gala on Wednesday.
The prize is awarded to recipients who focus on ideas that shape good public policy.
Honorees include Kimberley A. Strassel, editorial and political writer for The Wall Street Journal; Terry Teachout, playwright and drama critic for The Wall Street Journal; Darcy Olsen, president of the Goldwater Institute; and Randy E. Barnett, professor of legal theory at Georgetown University.
The gala was held at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the beautiful Terrace Theater. Backlit by hues of blue and arching stars, Master of Ceremonies and ’05 Bradley Prize recipient George F. Will welcomed attendees, opening with a crack at Lois Lerner.
“We have opened a lost and found booth,” Will said. “Please make sure to check under your seats for Lois Lerner’s lost emails.”
After his introduction, Sarah Pfisterer sang the national anthem, and then Michael W. Grebe, president and chief executive officer of the Bradley Foundation, took the stage to present a slideshow about the foundation and its grantees. Grantees include the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Hudson Institute and others.
Following the slideshow, the American Military Spouses Choir performed, garbed in purple with black tassels adorned with their spouses’ respective military branches.
Kimberley A. Strassel was the first honoree of the night to receive the prize.
“It is very humbling to be up here,” Strassel said. “I grew up in a logging community in Oregon with two remarkable parents that insisted their girls could do anything.”
Her speech focused on straining “against the accepted storyline” and being vigilant and vocal. “We in the press corp owe a duty to the public to question the accepted storyline,” Strassel said. “The threat is an erosion of liberty.”
Terry Teachout came next, delivering a speech focused on the importance of the arts.
“The arts are central to any truly conservative understanding of the world,” Teachout said. “Art makes sense of life.”
“I try my best to do my best, I hope I always will.”
The third honoree was Darcy Olsen. She stressed “No. 1, being bold, and No. 2, being bossy.” Olsen called to “put on the full armor of liberty,” questioning “what if the solution to Washington isn’t in Washington?”
After the ceremony, Olsen told The Daily Caller “It’s very surreal. Sometimes you catch wind of a nomination, but it was a big surprise.”
The final honoree was Randy E. Barnett. He compared the difference between what he calls the Democratic Constitution and the Republican Constitution.
“The Democratic Constitution views sovereignty as residing in the people, collectively,” Barnett said. “The Republican Constitution views sovereignty as residing in the people as individuals.”
Bradley Foundation Chairman Dennis J. Kuester closed the gala by stressing the importance of creating hope and getting the country back on track.
“Creating that spirit of opportunity at every economic level gives us that hope that we can get our country back on track,” Kuester said. “At the Bradley Foundation, we will continue to work hard to achieve that.”