PRESS RELEASE: Heartland Institute Names Former Congressman Tim Huelskamp Incoming President

Tim Huelskamp, Ph.D., a former three-term member of Congress and well-known national conservative leader, will become president of The Heartland Institute in July. He will succeed Heartland’s long-time president Joseph Bast, who co-founded the organization in 1984. Bast plans to remain at Heartland as CEO until some time in 2018.

Dr. Huelskamp was selected as president by The Heartland Institute Board of Directors after a months-long nationwide search. 

“After a long and careful search, we’ve found the person who can take The Heartland Institute to the next level,” said Bast. “Dr. Huelskamp combines the characteristics of a scholar, elected official, and small businessman that make him the ideal person to lead one of the nation’s top think tanks. His dedication to free-market ideas and ‘heartland values’ means Heartland will be in good hands long into the future.”

“I am so honored and excited to join the Heartland team,” said Dr. Huelskamp. “As a former member of Congress and Kansas state senator, I can attest that The Heartland Institute is one of the preeminent free-market think tanks in the world. Since I have already been successful in driving innovative policies at both the state and federal level, I am confident that I can lead Heartland toward even greater success in promoting the cause of freedom in every state, and now in Washington, DC.”

For more information or to schedule interviews with Dr. Huelskamp or Joseph Bast, contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] or on his cell, 312/731-9364.

As a Republican congressman from Kansas’ First Congressional District, Dr. Huelskamp pushed for conservative, free-market solutions in a wide range of policy arenas. He served on numerous committees, most notably the Veterans Affairs Committee and Budget Committee. On the Veterans Affairs Committee, he was a leader in exposing corruption and failures at the VA and pushing through a historic health care choice option for veterans. 

Dr. Huelskamp left his conservative imprints on many policy areas Heartland works on: SNAP work requirements, Farm Bill entitlements, the EX-IM Bank, and the Cut-Cap-and-Balance legislation in 2011. He helped grow the House Freedom and Liberty Caucuses, chaired and expanded the Tea Party Caucus, fought the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule, worked on budgets in the Republican Study Committee, and co-founded Conversations with Conservatives, a monthly House conservative press availability.

“The Board of Directors of The Heartland Institute took seriously its charge to ensure our next president is a thought leader, as well as an experienced manager who can carry on existing programs and launch new ones in the months and years ahead,” said Herbert Walberg, chairman of the Heartland Institute Board of Directors. “Corporate successions are never easy, but we’re convinced Dr. Huelskamp has what it takes to be a great leader as well as sterling experience as a legislator. He has the unanimous support of the Board.”

Prior to being elected to Congress in 2011, Dr. Huelskamp served 14 years as a state senator representing the 38th District of Kansas. During that time he was a conservative leader on education reform and finance, Medicaid reform, tax cuts and fighting crony capitalism, defending marriage and family, downsizing government, fighting judicial tyranny, and spending transparency. 

While serving in the Kansas Senate, Dr. Huelskamp chaired or co-chaired three committees: Elections and Local Government, Information Technology, and Medicaid Reform. He co-founded and led both a bicameral conservative caucus and a coalition of statewide conservative groups to coordinate legislative efforts. 

Prior to serving in Congress, Dr. Huelskamp was a fifth-generation family farmer in Kansas, where he farmed with his family for more than 30 years. He left Kansas to earn a BA summa cum laude from the College of Santa Fe and a Ph.D. in political science from American University in Washington, DC. 

Background on The Heartland Institute

The Heartland Institute is a 33-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. 

Heartland was founded in 1984 by David H. Padden (1927–2011), a Chicago-based municipal bond dealer and libertarian activist. Padden tapped Bast, who was in his senior year at the University of Chicago, to be the organization’s first employee and executive director. In 1994, Bast was elected to the Board of Directors and named president and CEO.

Originally focused only on policy debates in Illinois and Chicago, Heartland soon launched branch offices throughout the Midwest and in the early 1990s became a national organization serving the country’s 7,300 state elected officials. Today it sends books, policy briefs, and four public policy newspapers to every national and state elected official and thousands of civic and business leaders.

In the 2000s, Heartland became internationally known for promoting the work of scientists, economists, and other experts who are skeptical that human activity is causing a climate crisis. It has hosted 12 international conferences on climate change and published or edited a dozen books on the topic, including a four-volume series of literature reviews titled Climate Change Reconsidered produced with the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC).

The Heartland Institute is a tax-exempt charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is supported by approximately 5,000 individuals, foundations, and corporations.