Maine Heritage Policy Center

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Maine Heritage Policy Center (MHPC) is a conservative think tank located in Portland, Maine. According to its mission statement, the MHPC is "a research and educational organization whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise; limited, constitutional government; individual freedom; and traditional American values–all for the purpose of providing public policy solutions that benefit the people of Maine.[1] It has encountered controversy regularly in pursuing its goals.

Research areas[edit]

The Maine Heritage Policy Center researches and formulates conservative public policy solutions for the people of Maine in five areas:[1]

  • Economy/Taxation – The Jackson Center for Prosperity
  • Education – The Center for Education Excellence
  • Health Care – The Center for Health Reform Initiatives
  • Transparency & Open Government – The Center for Open Government
  • Constitutional Government – The Center for Constitutional Government

Initiatives[edit]

In 2006, MHPC was prominently involved in the unsuccessful campaign for the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) in Maine.[2]

In August, 2011, MHPC and the Maine chapter of Americans for Prosperity distributed a videotape produced by conservative activist James O'Keefe which "hint[ed] at" Medicaid fraud.[3][4]

One report at the time of his leaving said director Terry Bragdon "helped lead an organization that has played a major and often controversial role in policy debates over such hot-button issues as government spending, welfare reform and, most recently, Maine’s pension debt."[5]

In early 2011, Bragdon angered some state employees for suggesting that many state retiree pensions were “lavish” compared with those in the private sector.[5]

MHPC published "the salaries of all state employees while refusing to release the names of the center’s donors," according to a news report.[5]

MHCP is a member of the State Policy Network (SPN).[6]

In summer 2013, MHPC's initiated a proposal for Washington County "residents and businesses [to] cease to pay state income taxes or collect sales taxes" to spur economic growth. A grant proposal supporting the initiative to SPN was revealed in late 2013, one of 40 nationwide "providing a blueprint for a [state-by-state] conservative agenda for 2014". The "Searle Freedom Trust, an important donor to conservative groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council, Americans for Prosperity and the [SPN] itself" was a potential funder. Governor Paul LePage's administration was said to be evaluating the proposal and county residents had a variety of reactions to it, per one report. Other counties would be added to the program at a later time, per the proposal.[7]

Policy Staff[edit]

As of April 2013:[1]

  • J. Scott Moody, Chief Executive Officer

Moody became CEO of MHPC in July 2012. Moody has over 13 years as a public policy economist, including six years serving as Chief Economist for the Maine Heritage Policy Center. He is the author, co-author and editor of over 140 studies and books. He has testified twice before the House Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress as well as various state legislatures.[1]

He has been invited to speak before various organizations such as the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Legislative and Exchange Council. His work has appeared in Bloomberg, Forbes, CNN Money, State Tax Notes, The New York Post, Portland Press Herald, Bangor Daily News and others.[1]

Scott's professional experience includes positions as Senior Economist at the Tax Foundation and Senior Economist at the Heritage Foundation.

Moody received his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.). He received his Master of Arts in Economics from George Mason University (Fairfax, VA).

  • David P. Crocker, Director, Center for Regulator Reform and Constitutional Government

Crocker is the Director of the Center for Constitutional Government. Crocker has practiced law for twenty-one years both as a US Attorney and British Solicitor.[8]

Crocker is a graduate of Gordon College, Durham University (UK) and the University of Maine School of Law, where he earned his JD magna cum laude and was production editor of the Maine Law Review. He is admitted to practice before the state and federal courts in Maine and New Hampshire, the First US Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of England and Wales.[8]

  • Joel Allumbaugh, Director, Center for Health Reform Initiatives

Along with his work as director of MHPC’s Center for Health Reform Initiatives, Allumbaugh is also the Chief Executive Officer of National Worksite Benefit Group, Inc. (NWBG). Allumbaugh co-founded NWBG in 2003, a full service employee benefits insurance agency specializing in consumer driven health plan strategies.[9]

Prior to that, Allumbaugh was an independent insurance agent for six years. In addition, he has served on the board for the Maine Association of Health Underwriters where he served as the President from 2002-2003 and from 2007 to present. Allumbaugh is also a licensed life and health insurance consultant and continuing education instructor.[9]

He holds a certification in consumer driven health care, and instructs insurance agents throughout New England. Allumbaugh is the host of Inside Maine Healthcare, a cable access television program launched in 2010 airing on the Time Warner Cable network.

  • Amanda Clark, Education Policy Analyst

Clark joined the Maine Heritage Policy Center in 2010. As MHPC’s education policy analys, she works to implement customized learning into Maine’s educational system whether public, private, charter or online. Prior to joining MHPC, Amanda served for seven months as an English-speaking teacher’s assistant for a high school in Normandy, France. She graduated from Bob Jones University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a minor in French. While a university student, Amanda researched welfare and education policy as a domestic policy intern with the Heritage Foundation of Washington D.C.[1]

  • Steven Robinson, Government Transparency Policy Analyst

Robinson joined the Maine Heritage Policy Center in 2013. As MHPC’s government transparency policy analyst, he operates MaineOpenGov.org and writes for The Maine Wire. Prior to joining MHPC, Robinson worked in Washington, D.C. at Regnery Publishing (a conservative U.S. book publisher). His writing on national politics has been published in several news outlets including Human Events, The Blaze, and National Review. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and legal studies from Bowdoin College.[10]

Board of directors[edit]

As of April 2013:[1]

  • Peter Anania, President, Anania & Associate
  • Timothy J. Bryant, Esq., Partner, PretiFlaherty
  • John Chandler, Managing Partner, BerryDunn
  • Jinger Duryea, President, C. N. Brown Company
  • Neal B. Freeman, Chairman, The Blackwell Corporation
  • W. R. Jackson, Jr., Retired President, Pitt-Des Moines
  • Jeff Kane, President, National Distributors
  • James Ward, JD, President and Principal, Patient Advocates

Board of advisors[edit]

As of April 2013:[1]

  • Joel Allumbaugh, National Worksite Benefit Group
  • Deborah Dunlap Avasthi, HRH Northern New England
  • William G. Becker III, Key Private Bank
  • Joe Bruno, Community Pharmacies
  • David Crocker, Esq., Solicitor
  • Ronald Drouin, Retired
  • Scott Fish, As Maine Goes
  • Susan Hamill, The Dette Company
  • Philip E. Harriman, Lebel & Harriman
  • Chet Jordan, Digital Architecture
  • Lisa G. Martin, Manufacturers Association of Maine

Board of adjunct fellows[edit]

As of April 2013:[1]

  • Joe Crosby, Council on State Taxation
  • James Frogue, Center for Health Transformation/Gingrich Group
  • James Hamilton, For our Grandchildren
  • Roy W. Lenardson, Strategic Advocacy
  • Kyle Pomerleau, Georgetown University
  • John Reisman, University of Maine, Machias
  • Margo Thorning, American Council for Capital Formation
  • Wendy P. Warcholik, Public Choice Analytics for the U.S. States

Former staff[edit]

In August 2011, Lance Dutson was hired as chief executive officer. Dutson, a Portland native, was most recently the spokesman for Maine House speaker Robert Nutting. Dutson, earlier, founded one of the state’s first political blogs, Maine Web Report, and also has served as an online communications consultant to U.S. senators Susan Collins of Maine and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.[11][12] He was also a party to a 2006 case in which he, as blogger, was sued by advertising firm Warren Kremer Paino (now WKP-Spier LLC[13]) and successfully defended by Media Bloggers Association and, among others, MBA general counsel Ron Coleman.[14]

Tarren (Terry) R. Bragdon, who in early 2011 was a leader of the transition team for incoming Republican governor Paul LePage, left MHPC later in the year. Bragdon had been CEO of MHPC for 3-1/2 years. His plan upon departure was to move to Florida to start a similar organization to MHPC there. Bragdon, with undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Maine and Husson University, respectively, was reported to have earned more than $100,000 a year. At the time of his departure, Bragdon said he had known Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Republican Florida legislators for several years.[5] The new organization, the Foundation for Government Accountability,[15] is located in Naples, Florida.[12][16]

Stephen Bowen, most recently director of the Center for Education Excellence at MHPC, was named by LePage as Maine Department of Education commissioner in 2011. Bowen, with a bachelor's degree in political science from Drew University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University, had earlier been a teacher and a legislator from Rockport, Maine 2002-2006.[17]

In 2006, MHPC president and executive director was Bill Becker and its lawyer was Dan Billings.[2] Becker was the founder of the MHPC, finance director for Peter Cianchette run for Maine governor in 2002, and campaign manager for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Matt Jacobson in 2009.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i [1], MHPC webpage. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  2. ^ a b Farmer, David, "Ethics staff backs panel member", Sun Journal, Nov 30, 2006 12:00 am. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  3. ^ Higgins, A.J., "LePage: Secret Video Reveals Poor Training, but not Fraud", Maine Public Broadcasting, 08/11/2011. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  4. ^ Russell, Eric, "Secret video hints at Medicaid fraud potential; critics say it’s ‘gotcha’ without the ‘gotcha’", Bangor Daily News, Aug. 11, 2011 11:26 a.m. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  5. ^ a b c d Russell, Eric, "LePage adviser heading to Florida", Bangor Daily News, April 06, 2011, 12:35 am. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  6. ^ "Directory: Maine Heritage Policy Center", State Policy Network web page. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  7. ^ Woodard, Colin, "Washington County residents have mixed reactions to plan to eliminate taxes", Portland Press Herald, December 5, 2013. The Guardian was a media partner in the reporting. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  8. ^ a b "Director, Center for Regulatory Reform and Constitutional Government: David P. Crocker, Esq". The Maine Heritage Policy Center. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Director, Center for Health Reform Initiatives: Joel Allumbaugh". The Maine Heritage Policy Center. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  10. ^ "Government Transparency Policy Analyst: Steve Robinson". The Maine Heritage Policy Center. Retrieved 26 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Russell, Eric, "Heritage policy center picks new leader", Bangor Daily News, Aug. 02, 2011 3:39 pm. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  12. ^ a b "Lance Dutson to Lead The Maine Heritage Policy Center", Maine Web Report. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  13. ^ "WKP-Spier LLC: Company Overview", Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  14. ^ "Maine Blog Libel Suit Update", Instapundit blog, May 5, 2006. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  15. ^ Foundation for Government Accountability homepage.
  16. ^ Morgan, Lucy, "New think tank's veil of transparency", Tampa Bay Times, February 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-11.
  17. ^ Bouchard, Kelley, "Bowen sworn in as education commissioner", Portland Press-Herald, August 2, 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-02.
  18. ^ Cover, Susan, "Becker to manage Jacobson's campaign", Kennebec Journal blog post, 11/06/2009 10:20. Retrieved 2011-08-02.

External links[edit]

Dutson on Maine public radio (MPBN).