What follows is an excerpt from President Kyle Wingfield’s remarks at the opening of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s 30th Anniversary Dinner on September 16, 2021.
Good evening, and welcome! On behalf of everyone at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, thank you for joining us on this joyous occasion. Many of you here tonight have come alongside us for all or part of these past 30 years, while others of you may be getting your first introduction to our organization. Either way, we’re grateful you braved the weather, a lingering pandemic and, of course, Atlanta’s notorious traffic to be here with us. We are truly honored.
Speaking of travel, our audience tonight includes people not only from all over metro Atlanta but Carrollton, Rome, Cartersville, Ellijay, Athens, Elberton, Macon, Savannah, Plains, Orlando, Florida, Nashville, Tennessee, Omaha, Nebraska, Washington, D.C., New York, New York, and more. The Georgia Public Policy Foundation is truly an organization with statewide impact and national reach. I do want to note the absence tonight of an important group from Hinesville, Georgia … the color guard from the Fort Stewart Youth Challenge Academy. We were notified this morning that there was a Covid outbreak among these impressive young men and women, and consequently they are unable to be here tonight. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
As you heard in the video, the Foundation has a rich history. I would be remiss if I did not take the time to acknowledge and thank my predecessors as president who are here with us tonight: Griff Doyle, Rogers Wade, and Kelly McCutchen, as well as our board members here tonight; not only Rogers and Kelly but David Allman, Frank Barron, Gordon Beckham, Robbo Hatcher, Jay Neely, Clyde Shepherd, and Jeb Stewart. And, let us all remember the man who had the vision and the imagination to see the need for an organization like ours, our founder, the late Hank McCamish. Please join me in a round of applause for all of these individuals who made our history and our celebration of it possible.
We’re looking forward to reminiscing and honoring that legacy some more. And of course we are all anxiously awaiting the keynote remarks from journalist and author Jason Riley – Jason, my friend, thank you for being with us tonight!
As with every anniversary, this is an occasion to look not only back toward the past but forward toward the future. We are very, very excited about the opportunities before us:
- In the coming weeks, we’ll publish new research about how to reform Georgia’s tax code to keep up with our neighbors and competitors – to our friends from zero-income-tax Florida and Tennessee who are with us tonight, watch out!
- We will present fresh ideas about how to modernize transportation taxes to ensure Georgia continues to invest in much-needed infrastructure without overly burdening some road users and giving others a free pass.
- We are also embarking on ground-breaking research to demonstrate why government can best address the problem of housing affordability by doing less to make homes cost so much in the first place! We believe this work will blaze a new trail for other states to follow, as with our past work on criminal justice.
- We’re investigating creative new ways to highlight the need for supply-side reforms to our healthcare system, so that every Georgian has not merely an insurance card in their pocket, but meaningful access to the care they need, when they need it, on terms that fit their family budget.
- And we will continue to make the case that all children, regardless of their ZIP code, deserve to have the money follow them to the education that best fits their needs, so that every single one of them can reach their full potential.
We’ll do all this because, 30 years into this work, we still believe Georgians can serve their families, their communities and their state best when they have not only information they can trust, but the opportunity and the freedom they need to pursue prosperity and their own American Dream.
Whether you’re a newcomer to the Foundation or a veteran, we hope tonight will encourage and inspire you to strengthen your ties to our people and our work.