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 the largest of more than 50 affiliated think tanks that focus primarily on state economic policy.

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 Latin America, Africa and Asia.

He is a director of the Legislative Education Action Drive Foundation and Parents in Charge, which advance school choice, and an advisory board member of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

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 47 states and 47 countries in strategic planning, communications and fundraising.

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.

RIP Ranny Riecker

Center mourns loss of founding director. … more

Grosse Pointe State Rep: Public Schools Must Control 'Who Is Allowed to Attend'

"Local control" more important than students' education. … more

Lawmakers Walk Out on Legislatures, But No One Walks Out on a Union

Lawmakers who walk out of their legislatures are exercising an ability the unions they support deny to everyone who sits across the table from a union. … more

In Memory of Peter C. Cook

Peter C. Cook, faithful friend of liberty and exemplar of civil society, passed away Sunday evening at 96 years old in his hometown of Grand Rapids. Mr. Cook, as I knew him, served on the Mackinac Center’s board of directors from 1992 to 2003. … more

No Conversation Allowed

Some economic development officials are complaining of “collateral damage” from candidates and others who publicly discuss reining in Michigan’s generous array of targeted business subsidies and incentives. … more

The Truth About Sacred Lies

A book review of Paul A. Cleveland's "Unmasking the Sacred Lies." … more

Glenn Beck Highlights Mackinac Center’s “Overton Window”

Friday on his Fox television show, Glenn Beck described public policy changes along a spectrum from right to left, dubbing the range of current policies “the Overton Window.” He borrowed the term my colleagues and I gave to a theory of change developed by the Mackinac Center’s late vice president, Joseph Overton. … more

Political Anatomy 101

Confidence in government breeds complacency in politics. When people think government is handling things tolerably well, they see no reason to pay much attention to politics. When confidence sinks from low to lower, grass-roots political energy spikes upward. That’s why people are now leaping off the sidelines and into TEA parties and raucous town hall meetings to protest sky-high taxes, exploding deficits and the government’s attempt to take over health care. Smart politicians can seize this opportunity by exercising an oft-neglected part of the political anatomy: the spine. … more