By Dr. J. Robert McClure, JMI President & CEO
Posted December 29, 2011
As everyone wraps up a frenzied holiday period filled with family, friends and lots of good cheer, we at the Institute are thankful for our members’ and supporters’ commitment to this organization in 2011. So many have helped make it, by far, our most successful year ever. Thanks to them we are more effective, more influential, and more far-reaching than ever before.To that end, 2011 saw this tremendous influence manifest itself in many ways.  JMI Senior Fellow Peter Schweizer appeared on numerous national outlets including 60 Minutes, The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Bloomberg, The Politico, and Newsweek to promote his recent book: Throw Them All Out…a steely-eyed look at the insidious nature of crony capitalism inWashington. Moreover, we produced our legislative handbook and numerous studies from which fundamental public policy was established here in the Sunshine State: pension reform, Medicaid reform, the expansion of school choice, improvement in the regulatory environment, and the lowering of taxes, a spirited defense of state autonomy against federal healthcare overreach and an emphasis on greater government transparency at all levels. Our ability to educate, and thereby influence, the decisions of our elected officials has never been stronger.There is more.  JMI hosted nearly 60 events in the Sunshine State while appearing in virtually every single media market in Florida, time and again. We reached more than 130,000 high school kids (that’s not a misprint), teaching them about the foundational principles that have made America that “shining city on the hill,” while winning a national award for our efforts in that area. Finally, our Capital Campaign is nearly complete, renovations of our new building, 60 seconds from the Capitol, are well underway, and we anticipate moving into our new headquarters in April. As I have said before, we are a “do tank,” not a think tank, and 2011 is full examples of The James Madison Institute getting things done.And yet, 2012 is a crucial year in both our state’s and our nation’s history. It will be an important election season; we are facing strong headwinds to an economic recovery, and there are numerous important policy decisions to be made in both Tallahassee and Washington. Unfortunately, the attacks on our freedoms are always there. That is why JMI has been preparing for 2012 for quite some time now – outlining policy priorities, meeting with elected officials, expanding our staff, and planning various statewide events focused on protecting liberty. We’ve added a multimedia journalist to our staff, Will Patrick. He will be reporting on policy issues from a balanced and fresh perspective sorely lacking in parts of the mainstream media. He’ll also be working with “citizen journalists” around our state who do such a great job of holding our local elected officials accountable, giving these citizen journalists a bigger stage to connect with other like-minded patriots.And we are really excited about this: on February 8th JMI will be hosting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in Naples. Governor Walker has shown once again that freedom and the rule of law work every time they are tried. He has made Wisconsin a model for the country in so many ways, and despite the onslaught of attacks by the statists, he remains principled and unafraid.In the meantime, let’s go forward protecting and promoting liberty together.