RALEIGH — Former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr will make the keynote address as the John Locke Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary with a day-long conference and award ceremony on February 19, 2000.
The event features a breakfast speech by former Attorney General Ed Meese, political analysis from nationally known journalists such as “McLaughlin Group” panelist Michael Barone and Fox News Channel host Fred Barnes, and remarks by leading activists among free-market and conservative groups such as Americans for Tax Reform, the National Rifle Association, and the American Conservative Union.
Starr, a Duke law graduate who has served as a federal appellate judge and Solicitor General of the United States, will discuss the importance of the rule of law in maintaining a free, stable republic and the social contributions made by public policy think tanks such as the John Locke Foundation.
“We wanted our 10th anniversary celebration to be special — a chance for folks across North Carolina to come to Raleigh, engage in substantive discussion, and hear from some of the greatest minds on the national political scene,” said John Hood, president of the Foundation. “We are delighted that Judge Starr and our other distinguished speakers will be on hand to kick off our next decade in style.”
The John Locke Foundation opened its doors on February 19, 1990 as a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute devoted to policy research on state and local issues in North Carolina. Steady but rapid growth over the past decade has built an organization with 22 employees, an annual budget approaching $1 million, a staff of news reporters producing daily and weekly stories as well as a bimonthly magazine, and separate research divisions devoted to school reform, higher education policy, and promoting innovation in local government.
At last count, the Locke Foundation was the second-largest think tank in the United States devoted solely to state public policy analysis from a free-market, limited-government perspective. It is an independent, 501 (c)(3) organization funded almost exclusively by contributions from North Carolina residents, corporations, and charitable foundations. About 1,000 North Carolinians have provided financial support to the organization.
Senior staff members include:
• Hood, a former newspaper and magazine reporter who writes a weekly syndicated column for more than two dozen daily and weekly papers in North Carolina and appears weekly on “N.C. Spin,” a political discussion program that airs on WRAZ-TV in Raleigh, WBT-TV in Charlotte, and WFMY-TV in Greensboro.
• Former Raleigh Mayor Tom Fetzer, who directs the Foundation’s Center for Local Innovation, aimed at providing research, information, and advice to local leaders pursuing innovation and efficiency in government.
• Don Carrington, a former state labor market analyst, who directs the Foundation’s General Research Division, devoted to issues such as state tax and budgetary policy, regulation, and health and human services.
• George Leef, a former legislative analyst and college professor in Michigan, who directs the Foundation’s Pope Center for Higher Education Policy and publishes Clarion, a journal devoted to college and university issues.
• Kory Swanson, former executive manager at Bowling Green State University’s Social Philosophy and Policy Center, who heads the Foundation’s Administrative Division.
The John Locke Foundation impacts the public policy debate in North Carolina in several ways. It publishes Carolina Journal, a magazine providing more than 5,000 bimonthly readers with analysis, commentary, and investigative journalism, as well as Carolina Journal Weekly Report by fax and e-mail and CarolinaJournal.com, a daily news site on the World Wide Web. It also publishes reports and studies on state and local issues, provides testimony before state and local legislative bodies, holds luncheons and conferences, provides analysis to print and broadcast reporters, and widely distributes newspaper columns, audiotapes, and videotapes. In 1999, Locke Foundation appearances in the state’s print media alone numbered nearly 3,000.
Over the years, a variety of ideas first introduced in Locke Foundation research and publications have been enacted into law, including state budget and personnel reforms, state and local tax reductions, campaign finance disclosure rules, and a first-of-its-kind state tax credit for families who purchase private health insurance for their children. Its influence has extended beyond North Carolina’s borders, as well. Most recently, the state of Texas reorganized its disability services programs based on recommendations from a Locke Foundation Policy Report by Senior Policy Analyst Nat Fullwood.
The Foundation’s 10th anniversary conference will give Locke supporters a chance to celebrate its accomplishments and set its course for the future. After Judge Starr’s evening keynote address, the Foundation will hold an awards ceremony honoring North Carolinians who have made important contributions to the state in both public and private life.
For more information about the John Locke Foundation’s 10th anniversary conference, including a schedule of events, call the Foundation at 919-828-3876 or visit www.johnlocke.org.