Sen. Gordon and Sharon Smith to Honor Former State Senator Margaret Carter and Lynne Saxton

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Oregon announced today that former Oregon State Senator Margaret Carter and Lynne Saxton, Executive Director of Youth Villages Oregon, have been selected as the 2014 recipients of the Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award.    

Created by NAMI Oregon in 2009 to honor the mental health advocacy efforts of former United States Senator Gordon Smith and his wife, Sharon, the New Freedom Award is presented annually and recognizes an individual or individuals for their leadership on mental health issues.

“Both Margaret and Lynne have worked tirelessly and effectively on behalf of individuals and families battling mental health issues,” said former Senator Smith.  “NAMI Oregon has chosen very wisely in recognizing them for the positive and life-changing difference they have made and continue to make.  Sharon and I look forward to presenting Margaret and Lynne with the award that bears our name.”

The award will be presented at a dinner to be held at the Portland Downtown Waterfront Marriott on October 7.  More information about the dinner can be obtained by calling (503) 230-8009 or visting

Information on 2014 Gordon and Sharon Smith New Freedom Award Recipients

Margaret Carter:  Margaret Carter is Director of Community Engagement for the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services.  She served in the Oregon House of Representatives from 1985 to 1999 and the Oregon State Senate from 2001 to 2009.  She was the first African-American woman elected to the Oregon State Legislature, and was the first African-American woman in the United States to serve as President Pro-Tempore of a State Senate.   She also has previously served as Executive Director of the Portland Urban League, and as a counselor at Portland Community College.

Lynne Saxton:   Lynne Saxton has served since 2002 as Executive Director of Youth Villages Oregon, a nonprofit organization that helps children with emotional and behavioral problems and their families through residential, intensive in-home and transitional services.  Saxton also serves on the Willamette University board of trustees, and the Early Learning Council, and is a member of the International Women’s Forum.  For more information about Youth Villages Oregon, go to

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