The Associated Press
7/1/03 2:01 PM
CARO, Mich. (AP) -- An executive with a free-market, smaller-government think
tank was killed when his ultralight aircraft crashed and burned, state police
Joseph P. Overton, 43, senior vice president of the Mackinac Center for
Public Policy, was dead at the scene of the 9:32 p.m. Monday crash. He had just
taken off from the Tuscola Area Airport when, according to witnesses, the
single-seat craft suddenly headed downward, clipped some power lines, hit the
ground and caught fire on impact, state police said.
The Federal Aviation Administration was notified. The crash occurred near
Caro in Michigan's Thumb.
Overton spent more than 11 years with the Midland-based Mackinac Center,
which advocates free-market solutions to public policy matters.
Overton wrote often about educational issues, supporting vouchers, charter
schools and other ways of giving parents more choices in educating their
children. One of his frequent targets was the Michigan Education Association,
the state's largest teachers union, which he accused of discouraging innovation
"The cause of giving parents freedom to choose the best and safest schools
for their children will be ultimately achieved in part because of his tireless
efforts," Mackinac Center president Lawrence Reed said in a statement.
Overton, of Midland, and others with the Mackinac Center bristled at being
labeled conservatives. The organization praised former Republican Gov. John
Engler's efforts to cut most taxes but faulted him for proposing taxes on
Internet purchases and incentives that it derided as "tax favoritism."
Overton held a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Michigan
Technological University and a law degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.
Before joining the Mackinac Center, Overton held several positions at Dow
Chemical Co. in Midland.
He is survived by his wife, Helen.
Funeral arrangements were pending Tuesday.
On the Net:
Mackinac Center for Public Policy, https://www.mackinac.org/
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press