Winning the Day for Freedom

Published October 30, 2019

Dear Heartlanders,

I am grateful to the Heartland Institute’s Board of Directors for entrusting me to lead this 35-year-old organization into an era of growth and greater impact, carrying on the legacy of integrity, principle, and transparency established by Heartland’s founding president, Joe Bast. I’m the new Joe Bast, just a bit taller and with less facial hair.

I am honored to introduce myself to you as the new president of The Heartland Institute. With your support as the wind in our sails, it is my pledge to you that I will pilot Heartland toward our true north: American freedom!

There is much work to be done. The floodwaters of socialism swell beneath our feet, the shrill ring of climate alarmism fills our ears, and the political landscape is more uncertain than ever. Yet, I am convinced that Heartland’s best days are ahead of us.

In this quarterly report, you will see why I believe that. First, I’d like to share with you a bit about me and why I am so passionate about fighting for liberty.

Who I Am

You may recall the many free-market reforms that were accomplished in the state of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2018. Outside of well-informed people like you, many people don’t realize that Heartland played a leading role in Wisconsin’s successes. As a legislator, I often turned to Heartland for sound data, information, and solutions to real-world policy problems.

I served the people of Wisconsin for 20 years in the state Assembly, Senate, and Gov. Scott Walker’s administration. During my tenure, I stood proudly as an advocate for less taxes, less spending, less government, and more government transparency. I spearheaded several free-market reforms on behalf of my constituents, including the Taxpayer Protection Act, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, ending prevailing wage laws, and much more. As the administrator of Gov. Walker’s Workers’ Compensation Division, I led one of the best systems in the states and world for injured workers.

As proud as I am of the free-market progress we made in a politically difficult state, I see an opportunity to accomplish much more through the coordinated efforts of Heartland’s stellar team and committed supporters. Let’s take a look at the powerful vehicle for change that is The Heartland Institute.


Who We Are

From its founding in 1985, Heartland has carried out one of the most concise, effective mission statements in the free-market movement: “to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems.”

We rally behind ideas that expand freedom for everyday Americans, and we stand against anything that violates it. As president, it is my duty to continue this tradition as a guiding light for the freedom movement. We will accomplish this goal by operating as a think and action tank that affects policy at the national level and in every state in America.

Heartland now includes:

  • a full-time staff of 43;
  • more than 500 academics and professional economists who participate in our peer-review process as policy advisors;
  • 323 elected officials who serve in our Legislative Forum; and
  • 25 senior fellows who write, speak, and comment in depth on Heartland’s key public policy issues.

These metrics instill confidence that our team is producing well-formed solutions to social and economic problems. Our work goes beyond that of a traditional think tank, though. As an action tank, we also take an active role in seeing that these solutions are implemented.

Our educational communications to legislators and the public are uniquely effective. In 2018:

  • Our Government Relations Department made more than one million contacts with elected officials in all 50 states, including 4,963 face-to-face contacts.
  • 78 percent of state-level elected officials read Heartland’s newspapers “sometimes” or “always.”
  • 45 percent reported that a Heartland publication “influenced my opinion or led to a change in public policy.”
  • Heartland hosted, attended, or spoke at 158 events, reaching more than 34,000 guests across the nation.
  • We generated 1.8 million pageviews on our websites and blogs and amassed more than 100,000 Facebook fans,

13.6 million Facebook impressions, and 3.2 million podcast downloads. We are on pace for even more this year.

What We Do

The Heartland Institute develops well-researched informational papers; we then create free-market solutions that can be turned into policies that work in the real world; we then market these ideas to state and national officials, influencers, and regular people like you. Our efforts are making positive impacts throughout the country, thanks to the generosity and support of thousands of donors hailing from all walks of life. We can and will do more with more donations.

Thank you for your support! It makes these transformational activities possible. For example, in August we hosted the 2019 Summer Emerging Issues Forum (EIF) in Austin, Texas. It included 80 lawmakers, representing 30 different states, and had more than 150 people in attendance. The Heartland team covered a wide range of issues—from budgets and taxes to environment and energy. At our EIF events we educate America’s lawmakers on emerging issues and free-market solutions. We get to them when they are first developing their legislative perspectives and provide them with the information they need to make good public policy decisions.

In supporting Heartland, you help legislators at the state and national levels make more-informed decisions that have real-world impact on our rights and liberties. We do not shy away from confronting the enemies of liberty with the facts, which are on our side! On September 23, the United Nations hosted its Climate Summit in New York City, to promote unfounded and hysterical claims of climate alarm. U.N. officials and climate alarmists tried to scare Americans into believing that we face a “climate crisis” that will end the world as we know it, and that the only solution is to restructure the world order into a socialist hellscape. Heartland challenged them. We held our own event, moderated by journalist John Stossel, on the same day and in the same city. Unlike the U.N. summit, our event featured real scientists: Drs. Patrick Michaels, David Legates, and Willie Soon. Thousands watched via livestream, and tens of thousands more will see it on YouTube.

Inside this report, you will find more examples of Heartland’s continued leadership as an outspoken voice of freedom for all Americans. It is only with the continuing support of our donors that we are able to impact, influence, and inform lawmakers and citizens.

There are many challenges facing our great country. With your help, Heartland will rise to the occasion and win the day for freedom.


Freedom Rising!