Policy Forum Brings Innovative Solutions to Georgia

By Benita M. Dodd

One of the major missions in establishing the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in 1991 was to provide a “resource bank” for elected officials, policy-makers and citizens interested in implementing commonsense policy in a limited-government environment to facilitate a thriving state economy.

Understanding the limited research staff that lawmakers can access regarding Georgia-focused issues, the third annual Georgia Legislative Policy Forum on Friday, September 21, brings experts and analysts from across the nation to Atlanta.  At this nonpartisan event, co-sponsored by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation and the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute, attendees will hear views on moving the state past “the recent unpleasantness” that has roiled the economy.

This year, as in the past two years, the daylong event is themed, “Wisdom, Justice and Innovation,” based on the state’s motto of, “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation.” The focus will be on the most anticipated issues under the Gold Dome in the upcoming legislative session and beyond, offering free-market approaches, limited government solutions and innovations for Georgia that have succeeded in other forward-thinking states and institutions. 

“Along with traffic congestion solutions, the balancing of education budgets and academic achievement are crucial as we work to restore Georgia’s economy to a thriving condition,” explained Kelly McCutchen, president and CEO of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

“At the same time, we must ensure that we have the right kinds of jobs to ensure economic growth, not just stagnation. We simply must create a climate that attracts, trains and retains the brightest and best, both in workers and entrepreneurs.”

“Health care solutions are perhaps the most important budgetary challenge in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling,” McCutchen added. “Georgia needs to embrace market-oriented solutions to reach the uninsured, then ensure fair resolutions in cases where patients are harmed. ‘Defensive’ medicine is costing us too much.”

The Forum participants include public policy experts such as:

  • Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education, one of the oldest national think tanks that recently relocated its headquarters in Atlanta
  • Brooke Rollins, President of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a sister think tank to the Georgia Public Policy Foundation. Five Texas counties were among the nation’s top 10 job markets in 2000-2011, thanks to energy and technology, according to a CNN Money survey released this month
  • Grace-Marie Turner, President and CEO of the Galen Institute, which focuses on free-market health care solutions. She was a member of the National Advisory Council of Healthcare Research and Quality and the Medicaid Commission, which is charged with making recommendations to modernize and improve Medicaid.

On the education panel, Gerard Robinson, who has been education chief in both Virginia and Florida, will join Rick Ogston, founder and CEO of the wildly popular Carpe Diem Schools, to focus on, “Embracing Innovation in Funding, Choice and Digital Learning.” Ogston’s blended learning charter high school in Yuma, Arizona, was named “Among America’s Best High Schools” in 2010 by US News & World Report and BusinessWeek; in May, Indiana’s charter school board announced it had approved six Carpe Diem schools.

Dr. Joanna Bailey of the Emory University School of Law will join Grace-Marie Turner to discuss, “Health Policy after the High Court: Reforming Medicaid, Rethinking Medical Malpractice and Reaching the Uninsured.”

Carter Burton, President of Spine360, a spinal surgical device company based in Austin, Texas, will join Rollins in discussing, “Policies to Encourage Innovation in the New Economy.” Rounding out the panel are Jake Hodesh, executive director of the Creative Coast, based in Savannah, and Glenn McGonnigle, entrepreneur, venture capital specialist, IT expert and founder of several companies.

“This forum is the only Georgia-focused discussion of free-market principles and their application to today’s public policy issues,” said Georgia House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, who also is chairman of the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute. Lindsey encouraged legislators to attend, “as we seek to work collaboratively toward solutions to the challenges affecting our constituencies across the state during the upcoming legislative session.”

The event at the Atlanta W Midtown hotel begins at 7:15 a.m. (breakfast and lunch included) and ends at 3:30 p.m. Registration is $100 and is open to the public. Register online at http://tinyurl.com/28srv6b.


Benita M. Dodd is vice president of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, an independent think tank that proposes practical, market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. Nothing written here is to be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before the U.S. Congress or the Georgia Legislature.

© Georgia Public Policy Foundation (August 24, 2012). Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and her affiliations are cited.

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