The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate has hired Texas attorney Julie Drenner as director of its new office in Austin, Texas.
The Austin office joins branch offices of Heartland’s FIRE center in Washington, DC and Tallahassee, Florida. The Heartland Institute is a national, nonprofit public policy research organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
The center, which began as the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center on Risk, Regulation and Markets, joined Heartland in November of 2009 and changed its name today. Eli Lehrer, a Heartland senior fellow, heads the center from its Washington, DC office.
Drenner, who comes to Heartland from a legislative consulting position for The Lanier Law Firm and Texas for Family Values PAC, has worked in and around the state legislature since 2003. She has frequently testified before the legislature on topics ranging from public health to family law and has been interviewed and quoted by media outlets including CNN, The Los Angeles Times, News Austin 8, KLBJ, and Dallas Morning News. She played key roles in drafting more than 20 bills currently before the legislature. She holds a law degree from California’s Oak Brooke College of Law and studied at Southern Methodist University.
“I am excited to spearhead Heartland’s free-market solutions to the challenges we face in the great state of Texas,” Drenner said.
In her Heartland position, Drenner will work in Austin and elsewhere in Texas to educate citizens, business groups, and policymakers about the current state of Texas’s insurance market and the need for free-market reform. Texas—which has consistently ranked near the very bottom of Heartland’s annual property and casualty insurance report card—has one of the nation’s most troubled insurance environments. In recent years, private insurers have fled the state as the government-mandated Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) has become the nation’s second largest entity of its type.
Drenner also will serve as Heartland’s ambassador to the Texas legislature and educate its members about projects and efforts in many other aspects of the think tank’s work.
“Julie impressed me from the moment we first spoke. She’s smart, quick, and enormously well connected. Just the type of person that’s perfect for the Heartland team,” said Lehrer. “She really understands Texas and has a keen sense of the political situation there. She’s going to do great things.”
Julie Drenner, Texas director for The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, can be reached at (512) 799-5706 or [email protected].