RALEIGH — North Carolina’s largest public policy think tank has launched a major project to expand its activities, influence, and support in the state’s largest metropolitan area: Charlotte.
Residents of Mecklenburg County and neighboring communities are the main audience for several new initiatives from the John Locke Foundation, which on Friday will celebrate the 15th anniversary of its founding in Raleigh as a nonprofit institute devoted to broadening and improving the public policy debate in North Carolina and advancing America’s founding principles.
“For 15 years, the John Locke Foundation has built its reputation in the state capital as a credible, principled source of information and advocate for open, honest, and smaller government,” said John Hood, a Mecklenburg County native who serves as JLF chairman and president.
“This year, it is our goal to let people in Charlotte and throughout the region know more about what the John Locke Foundation does to expose waste and corruption in North Carolina government and to offer constructive alternatives for cutting taxes and regulations, setting better spending priorities with the taxpayers’ money, and improving our schools, roads, and other public services.”
During the next few weeks, Charlotte-area residents will see or hear:
• Radio advertisements urging listeners to visit JLF’s new Charlotte web portal to sign up for regular updates and information on state and local government in North Carolina.
• Unique political insight from former Clinton advisor and Fox News commentator Dick Morris, whose March 29 speech at the Charlotte Hilton Executive Park will usher in a regular event series featuring some of the most influential journalists, scholars, and public officials in the country.
• A series of mailings to area residents identifying key fiscal and transportation issues facing the region and offering JLF’s analysis and recommendations.
• Public speeches and media appearances by JLF researchers and analysts discussing taxes, education, government spending, transit, and a host of other important topics.
• And a special Charlotte edition of JLF’s flagship publication, Carolina Journal, to be distributed each month to tens of thousands of readers as a special section of The Rhinoceros Times newspaper.
The organization now has four full-time or part-time staffers in Charlotte. Associate Editor Michael Lowrey and Contributing Editor Jeff Taylor write for Carolina Journal and JLF’s suite of web sites, including Carolina Journal Online and the main JLF site. Lindalyn Kakadelis, a former member of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education, directs the North Carolina Education Alliance, JLF’s school-reform project. And George Higgins, a former Mecklenburg county commissioner, serves as JLF’s vice president for development.
“It should be obvious that, given the staffing and resources we are now devoting to these initiatives, the John Locke Foundation is committed to expanding its presence in North Carolina’s most populous city and region,” Hood said. “We will bring fresh ideas, informative commentary, myth-busting research, and thoughtful speakers to a community at a tipping point. Education, taxes, transportation, property rights, the business climate — you name the issue and it’s clear that Charlotte needs a confident, innovative, market-oriented approach to help keep it one of America’s great and growing cities.”
The March 29 kick-off event with Fox News commentator Dick Morris will be held at noon at the Charlotte Hilton Executive Park, 5627 Westpark Drive. The cost is $30 per person, including lunch. Call 919-828-3876 for details or visit the JLF events site. For more information about the John Locke Foundation’s Charlotte initiatives, contact John Hood at 919-828-3876 or [email protected]