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Photo: Robin Holland

Jim Hightower

Activist

Jim Hightower is a national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author of the book, Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow. He has spent three decades “battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be — consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.”

He broadcasts daily radio commentaries that are carried in more than 150 commercial and public stations, on the Web and on Radio for Peace International. Each month he publishes a populist political newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, which now has more than 135,000 subscribers and has received both the Alternative Press Award and the Independent Press Association Award for best national newsletter.

A New York Times best-selling author, his books include Thieves in High Places, If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates and There’s Nothing In The Middle Of The Road But Yellow Stripes And Dead Armadillos.

Raised in family of small business people and tenant farmers in Texas, Hightower graduated from the University of North Texas, worked in Washington as a legislative aide to Sen. Ralph Yarborough of Texas, then co-founded the Agribusiness Accountability Project, a public interest project that focused on corporate power in the food economy.

Later he became the editor of The Texas Observer. He served as director of the Texas Consumer Association before running for statewide office and being elected to two terms as Texas Agriculture Commissioner (1983-1991).

Hightower is a recipient of the 2009 Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship.