(Editor's note: The Mackinac Center celebrates its 20th anniversary tonight with a black-tie gala in East Lansing, Mich., featuring keynote speaker John Stossel. Below is a collection of congratulatory quotes the Center received from policymakers, writers, think tank leaders, members of the media and others, listed alphabetically.)
"Congratulations, Mackinac Center, on two decades of public service, promoting free market ideas and unabashedly defending the property rights of Michiganders. I have found the Mackinac Center and its experts to be a tremendous resource for my radio show, but more importantly, I have found you to be a great provoker of deeper thought on public policy. I can't begin to tell you how many times your work and opinions have inspired me and reaffirmed my belief in conservative principles which are at the heart of America's greatness. Please don't change anything you do. Michigan, and America, need your ideas, your analysis and your vigilance. Here's to a Happy Anniversary and many more decades filled with intelligent discussion of important issues."
— Frank Beckmann, talk show host, WJR, Detroit
"I congratulate the Mackinac Center for 20 years of outstanding work on behalf of all Michigan residents. The Center performs a great public service to residents and understands that with extensive research, thorough analysis and decisive conclusions, good public policy can be developed.
"I would like to thank the Mackinac Center for its tireless efforts to develop sensible policies that enhance the lives of Michigan citizens. I hope the next 20 years will be even better and more influential than the first."
— Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop
"Congratulations to the Mackinac Center on 20 years of influencing the public policy debate in Michigan. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has set the standard for free-market thought. At a time when the State of Michigan is in need of a fresh review of its policies, Mackinac Center is more relevant than ever."
— Attorney General Mike Cox
"The Mackinac Center's research and policy analysis during the last two decades has been critical to the policy debates in Michigan and across America. In an era of term limits and short-term fixes, it is vital that there be a clear voice for the ‘permanent things' that form the bedrock of a free society."
— Gov. John Engler, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
"The Heritage Foundation is proud to salute the Mackinac Center on its 20th Anniversary! Your talented staff, high quality work, and commitment to best business practices have made you a leader in the state think tank movement. Because of your steadfast commitment to principle you have become a leader in the battle of ideas.
"Your many Heritage friends look forward to working with you in the decades ahead!"
— Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D., President of The Heritage Foundation
"The Mackinac Center is one of the two or three finest state-focused think tanks in the country. It has always shown great strength in two areas that are rarely compatible — rigorous public policy proposals based on solid facts, and clear language and real-world solutions that take into account the existing political reality. It is a rare feat to pull off both principled advocacy and practical politics, but Mackinac has found the formula."
— John Fund, Wall Street Journal columnist
"In an era when life seems to move at the speed of light, we need to take more time to think about the problems and issues facing our great state and country. The Mackinac Center provides a place to go to find free-market opinions and unordinary solutions that make us think; and think deeply. Happy 20th anniversary!"
— Chuck Gaidica, television anchor, Detroit
"Over the past 20 years the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has committed itself to improving the quality of life in Michigan by advancing the causes of individual liberty, free market solutions and limited government perspectives in public policy debates.
"I hope that its unique ability to equip public leaders and stakeholders in Michigan with thoughtful evaluations of public policy options will lead to another 20 years of success."
— Congressman Pete Hoekstra
"The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is helping to move the world to a freer, more responsible and more just society. The Mackinac Center not only has great talent in leadership positions, it has a great depth of talent throughout the institution. Mackinac not only has the right ideas, it effectively and tirelessly markets them to the public and legislators showing - with good will and intelligence — that freedom should not only be preserved, it must be expanded."
— John Kramer, Institute for Justice, Vice President for Communications
"For the past 20 years, the Mackinac Center has been a force for good governance in business, government and education for the state of Michigan and beyond."
— William La Mothe, former CEO, Kellogg Company
"The Mackinac Center is an influential voice regarding public policy in Michigan. Its comprehensive view of Michigan's challenges leads to a better understanding of the innovative solutions that exist. The Center's work to promote openness and accountability in government is especially noteworthy. For example, its ‘Show Michigan the Money' project sets new standards for transparency in government spending through the online posting of detailed financial information. When the Mackinac Center speaks, policymakers, opinion writers and advocacy groups from across the nation listen."
— Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land
"My four summers at the Mackinac Center allowed me to get real-life experience and apply the economic theories I was studying in college. Interning at the Center was one of the most enjoyable and intellectually stimulating times of my life."
— Professor Peter Leeson, Ph.D., Department of Economics, George Mason University
"The Mackinac Center isn't just one of the best state-level think tanks in America — it's one of the best think tanks in America. Period."
— John J. Miller, National Review
"I have had the pleasure of knowing, working with and learning from Larry Reed since the mid-1990s. He is one of the most dedicated and focused think-tank leaders in the free-market movement. He has a rare capacity to explain complex economic concepts in startlingly simple and often humorous ways. His boundless optimism is infectious. Also, despite his extensive commitments, he spares the time to meet with and encourage young intellectual entrepreneurs to establish think tanks and other institutions that advance human freedom. If every American state had a Larry Reed to monitor and advise its legislature, governor and officials, this would be a far freer and more prosperous nation. Until then, Michigan has Larry and the Mackinac Center to itself. Its leaders would be wise to heed his wisdom."
— Deroy Murdock, syndicated columnist, Scripps Howard News Service and senior fellow, Atlas Economic Research Foundation
"Over the past 20 years, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has been a steadfast proponent of free-market public policy that has been a guiding light for state and local government. The research and analysis by their scholars and topical reform positions have continually demonstrated a depth of understanding of issues, policies and change for Michigan."
— Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson
"One of the main jobs of the media is to be the watchdog of government, but government has become so vast and so complex, it has become nearly impossible.
"That's why the media in Michigan is fortunate to have the Mackinac Center. Analysts have helped me countless times from navigating the murky waters of government budget policy to tracking down experts on a moment's notice.
"I find the ‘Viewpoint' papers timely and concise and its publications and Web sites handy tools in presenting balanced reports. Some of my most widely received stories had their origins with the Mackinac Center and for that it will always have a prominent place in my Rolodex."
— Anne Schieber WOOD-TV, Grand Rapids, Michigan