I was honored to be invited to join the Mackinac Center in late June as its senior strategist for state affairs. I will be based in Lansing and given the responsibility to implement more creative and effective approaches to turn our research and recommendations into implemented policy, and to broaden and deepen our relationships in the Capitol community.
My policy career started as an executive assistant for a Texas lobbyist who ran two small trade associations. Following that, I spent seven years as a credentialed Texas Capitol reporter, all but one of them as managing editor of The Lone Star Report, a political insider newsletter. For one year, I was the head of an independent public affairs practice, serving some of Texas’ largest trade associations. I worked as a governmental relations liaison for two years, managing economic development and prisoner re-entry initiatives for the Texas Workforce Commission.
In January 2007, I joined the liberty movement as director of media and government relations for the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Since late 2012, I served in a full-time government affairs role as its senior director for public affairs.
While I was at TPPF, I played an important role in some of our victories. We secured groundbreaking criminal justice reforms that have reduced Texas’ crime rate to 50-year lows and allowed the state to close eight prisons and defeated a $21 billion tax-and-fee package to pay for light rail in Texas’ metropolitan areas. Legislators also adopted our ideas for increased transparency in higher education, despite the stonewalling of the higher education committee chairmen in both chambers.
At my heart, I am a movement builder — always looking for opportunities to increase the number and effectiveness of policymakers and activists who support free markets and limited government. There are many lessons I have learned from our successes (and failures) in Texas that I look forward to applying in Michigan to build our movement here.