The Board of Directors of The Heartland Institute, a 35-year-old national free-market think tank, unanimously elected Frank Lasée as the third president in the organization’s history. Lasée is a former Wisconsin state legislator serving in the state Senate from 2011 to 2017 and the state Assembly from 1994 to 2008.
The Heartland Institute, based in Illinois, has long held that one of its core missions is to communicate sound, free-market policy to state legislators in every state across the country.
“I am excited about leading the Heartland Institute to greater influence,” Lasée said. “As a state legislator, I turned many times to Heartland for excellent, well researched, timely information on many public policy topics. Now with more than 500 policy experts to provide information to state and national decision makers, it is perfectly situated to make a greater impact for individual freedom, limited government, free market and American values.”
Lasée as president succeeds former Congressman Tim Huelskamp, who took over for founding President Joseph Bast in 2017 and resigned his position in June.
“Thank you, Joe and Diane Bast for devoting more than 30 years to building Heartland into the highly respected, influential organization that it is,” Lasée said. “I plan on growing your legacy and continue fighting those that are attempting to turn our country away from the principles that have made it great.
“Preserving freedom that has made our country the economic engine of the world, where everyone has the opportunity to create upward mobility and enjoy their private property and personal freedom,” he said.
Heartland’s Director of Communications Jim Lakely served as interim president from June 4 until the election of Lasée. Lakely announced Lasée‘s election at Heartland’s 13th International Conference on Climate Change this morning.
Lasée served Wisconsin in the legislature or the governor’s office most of the past 25 years, and joined the Walker Administration as administrator for the Department of Workforce Development’s Workers Compensation Division in 2017.
He was a key ally of Gov. Scott Walker in the Wisconsin Senate, actively working their ambitious agenda to successfully close the state’s 2011 $3.6 billion deficit without raising taxes. Lasée also led the effort and voted for major property and income tax reductions, government tax and spending controls, welfare reform and many other common sense reforms in Wisconsin as a legislator.
Lasée was a strong advocate of fiscal responsibility, individual freedom, limited government and free markets. He authored the Wisconsin Taxpayer Bill of Rights, which constitutionally required a balanced budget and locked-in spending and taxing limits on all state and local governments. Lasée‘s leadership made it the largest issue outside of the state budget for two legislative sessions.
Outside of public service, Lasée was a real estate broker.