Joseph G. Lehman is president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute in Michigan. The Mackinac Center is one of the largest of 65 independent think tanks across the country that focus primarily on state-level policies that affect peoples’ freedom and quality of life.

Lehman first joined the Mackinac Center in 1995. He later became vice president for communications at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., before returning to the Mackinac Center as its executive vice president. He became president in 2008.

Lehman’s commentary on public policy has been carried by The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, National Journal, National Review, Investor's Business Daily, Wired magazine and nearly every daily Michigan newspaper.

He has addressed audiences at the National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting, the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual Mackinac Policy Conference and gatherings of economists and policy experts in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.

He is vice chair of the National Taxpayers Union and a director of the Fairness Center, a nonprofit public-interest law firm.

Lehman is a leader among state-based public policy experts. In 2013 the State Policy Network recognized him with its Roe Award for leadership, innovation and accomplishments in public policy. He has trained more than 600 think tank executives from nearly every state and more than 50 countries in strategic planning, communications and fundraising. Lehman is the leading instructor on the Overton Window theory developed by late Mackinac Center vice president Joseph Overton and has trained people around the world to understand this model of policy change.

Prior to his public policy career, Lehman was an engineer and project manager for nine years at The Dow Chemical Co. He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Engineering and is a registered professional engineer.

Lehman and his wife, Karen, are the founders of Midland County Habitat for Humanity. He twice received the Dow Chemical Vice President's Award for Community Service. He is an ordained deacon in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Securing the Future

Mackinac Center: Michigan a National Innovator in Pension Reform

State addresses underfunding while protecting earned benefits … more

A Proposal to Build Trust in Government: Let Lawmakers Vote from Home

Mackinac Center Praises Groundbreaking Pension Reforms in Michigan

State demonstrates national leadership in addressing public employee retirement crisis … more

“Everything Is Too Political”

Allow Michigan Legislators to Vote from Home Districts, Not Just at Capitol Building

Mackinac Center President: More time in districts could increase voters’ trust in elected officials … more

Mackinac Center Welcomes James Barrett to Board

Past Michigan Chamber president brings public, private sector expertise to free-market think tank … more

The Most Dangerous Lead in Politics or Hockey

Be Wise in Deciding How to Spend Taxpayer Funds on Infrastructure

Mackinac Center Director of Labor Policy Selected for Trump Agency Landing Team

Vernuccio will serve on team to coordinate transition at Department of Labor … more

Mackinac Center President’s Statement on Betsy DeVos Nomination

DeVos will be new Secretary of the Department of Education … more

Seven Principles of Sound Governance

'I Don’t Know My Country Anymore'

Whether Winning or Losing, Stay on Offense

Government as Santa

Kendra Shrode

What It Takes to Be Free, in the Long Run

Five Road Funding Principles

Five Road Funding Principles

What Should the Next Legislature Do?

The Machinations Behind Michigan’s Minimum Wage Hike

In Loving Memory Ranny Riecker

How to Tell What a Bill Actually Does

Defending Free Speech

Celebrating the Past, Looking Forward

The Detroit Narrative Will Shape the Nation

Medicaid Expansion not the Answer

It’s no Secret, Hard Work Pays Off

Gov. Rick Snyder's Performance Dashboards:

In Praise of Those Unpraised

Right-to-Work Is Possible in Every State

Reform Starts in the States, Not in Washington

An Inspiration and a Warning from Michigan

Don’t Forget the Supreme Court Races

President’s Message: Will the Union Power-Play Backfire?

‘Protect Our Jobs’ Would Protect the 3 Percent at the Expense of the 97 Percent

Commentary: Country Cannot Afford Obamacare

President’s Message: Relentless Positive Medicine

Commentary: Don't Undermine Voters' Right to Recall

A Toast to Freedom

The Real Purpose of Recall Elections

A Good Start, Policymakers. Now for the Heavy Lifting

How Is Gov. Snyder Doing So Far?

President’s Message: Losing Control of Government?

Losing Control of Government?

Wayne State Removes Questionable Website After Mackinac Center FOIA Requests

How Is Gov. Snyder Doing So Far?

Your Candidate Won, But So What?

The Taxpayers Speak

How to Renew Michigan

Forget the Election, Focus on Outcomes (Viewpoint)

Grateful for President Obama

President’s Message: Grateful for President Obama

Forget the Election, Focus on Outcomes

The Real Work Is After the Election

The Real Work Is After the Election

President’s Message: The Real Work Is After the Election

Government Transparency and a New Government in 2011

How to Hold Elected Officials Accountable

Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems

Mackinac Center Idea Tops Bestseller List

November Is Not a Finish Line, It’s a Starting Line

‘The Overton Window’: Made in Michigan

The 4th of July

Think Tank of the Future

Civil Society

A Lasting Legacy

Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems (Michigan Capitol Confidential)

Constitutional Convention Won’t Fix Michigan’s Problems

Cash, Corporations, Unions and Free Speech

Cash, Corporations,Unions and Free Speech

School Choice Ahead

An Excerpt from “Indivisible”

Cap Con Daily: Online and On-Message

New Year’s Resolutions for Real Reform (Michigan Capitol Confidential)

New Year’s Resolutions for Real Reform

Who Wants to Know?

A Christmas Wish List for Michigan Policymakers

Will the Real Reform Please Stand Up?

ad liberties: Political Anatomy 101

A review and analysis of important state legislative policy issues that do not always receive attention from the general media. Michigan Capitol Confidential will make it easier to keep tabs on your elected representatives in Lansing. … more

Turning Michigan Around