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2009 Honoree Jim Hightower



are pleased to announce the 2009 recipient of the


Author - Activist - Educator
Jim Hightower is the ninth winner of the prestigious award. Twice elected Texas agriculture commissioner, Hightower was praised for nurturing organic production, promoting alternative crops, regulating pesticides and monitoring groundwater. A New York Times bestselling author, he has written seven books, including his most recent, written with longtime partner Susan DeMarco, Swim Against the Current.

An advocate for everyday people whose voices are seldom heard in Washington or on Wall Street, Hightower believes that “politics isn't about left versus right; it's about top versus bottom.” He broadcasts daily radio commentaries, which are on more than 150 stations across the country, on subjects ranging from public healthcare to Hamid Karzai. Each month, Hightower publishes a populist political newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, exposing hypocrisy in Congress and targeting the abuses of corporations. With more than 135,000 subscribers, the Lowdown has received both the Alternative Press Award and the Independent Press Association Award for best national newsletter.



The 9th annual Puffin/Nation prize carries a $100,000 cash award and is given annually to one who has challenged the status quo “through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, socially responsible work of significance.” It is awarded jointly by the Puffin Foundation Ltd. of New Jersey and The Nation Institute. Recipients are chosen by a panel of four judges whose identities are not disclosed. The prize has previously been awarded to Van Jones, environmental activist and presidential advisor; Michael Ratner, civil rights lawyer and founder of the Center for Constitutional Rights; Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman; Robert Moses, celebrated civil rights advocate and founder of the Algebra Project; Dolores Huerta, co-founder with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers Union; David Protess, anti-death penalty advocate and co-founder of the Innocence Project; Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author of the bestselling book Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America; and Jonathan Kozol, renowned educator and author of The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America.

Click here for more information about Jim Hightower or The Nation Institute.