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Nation’s newest free market think tank announced, bringing new solutions to the Mountain States


CONTACT: Chris Cargill, (208) 295-9525


BOISE – Public policy outcomes will improve for the citizens of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and the Inland Northwest with the launch of the Mountain States Policy Center, the nation’s newest free-market research center.


The organization has named Chris Cargill as its first President and CEO. Cargill has more than 20 years’ experience in communications and free market policy, most recently as the Eastern Washington director for the Washington Policy Center.


“The Mountain States are the fastest growing region in our nation, and I am honored to be named to lead this effort,” Cargill said. “Our citizens need free market solutions and ideas. We will provide recommendations based on free market ideas, ranging from school choice to improving the business climate.”

Mountain States Policy Center is a non-profit, non-partisan research center that will not endorse political parties or candidates but will provide free market solutions to successfully grow the region. It will concentrate its work in Idaho, Eastern Washington, Montana and Wyoming – one of the first organizations of its kind to cover multiple states.

“The Mountain States Policy Center stands ready to draw from its expert resources to deliver insightful and thorough research to citizens, as well as elected and community leaders,” said Ken Dey of Boise-based J.R. Simplot Company. Dey has been named the first chairman of the Mountain States Policy Center.


Additional board members include:


  • Rebecca Funk (Coeur d'Alene)

  • John S. Otter (Boise)*

  • Bill Baldwin (Hayden)*

  • Former Rep. Dean Haagenson (Hayden)

  • Don Stafford (Spokane)

  • Julie Shiflett (Coeur d'Alene)

  • Oscar Evans (Homedale)

  • Bonnie Quinn Clausen (Spokane/Coeur d'Alene)


Both Otter and Baldwin are former chairs of the Washington Policy Center, one of the nation’s most successful free market think tanks. Mountain States Policy Center will be adding additional board members from Eastern Idaho and Montana soon.


The organization will hold its official kick-off events on October 5 in Boise and October 6 in Coeur d’Alene. Both events are open to the media and the public. Registration is available at



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