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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Former US Senator Jim DeMint Launches the “Palmetto Policy Forum”

At last, a true, conservative (not libertarian) think tank in South Carolina.  Once again, thank you Senator DeMint!

PalmettoPolicyForumLogoFormer U.S. Senator and Heritage Foundation President-designate Jim DeMint has announced the launch of the Palmetto Policy Forum, an independent, South Carolina-based think tank.

DeMint, who is investing a portion of his remaining campaign funds to help establish the group, will also serve as its Founding Chairman.

Joining him on the forum’s founding board is a roster of notable South Carolina leaders including Dan Adams (President and CEO of The Capital Corporation), Gresham Barrett (former US Congressman, member of the government relations team at Nelson, Mullins, Riley & Scarborough, and Stewardship Director of NewSpring Church), Michael Brenan (Group/State President of BB&T), Michael McBride (Chairman of the Board of Directors of HMR Veterans Services, Inc.), and Stu Rodman (Founder and Vice-Chairman of the Board).

The organization will be led by president and CEO Ellen Weaver — a seasoned veteran of policy, communications, and politics.  Weaver worked with DeMint in both Washington and South Carolina, most recently serving as his State Director.  She will assume full-time duties with Palmetto Policy Forum on March 4 to help complete the transition between the former DeMint office and newly-appointed US Senator Tim Scott.

Dr. Oran Smith, current president of the Palmetto Family Council and an advocate for conservative policy in South Carolina, will join the staff as Senior Fellow — focusing on legislative research and policy innovation.
Kate Middleton Maroney, who worked for US Representative Trent Franks on Capitol Hill, will join the staff as Executive Assistant and oversee management of new media outreach.

During the announcement, DeMint said, “I am pleased to have this opportunity to invest in Palmetto Policy Forum and the future success of the state I love. I believe South Carolina can lead the nation with the most principled, powerful, and effective conservative advocates in America. The Forum will play a key role in cultivating the bold and visionary ideas that we know form the ladder of opportunity for every American. In my new role at The Heritage Foundation, I look forward to working with Palmetto Policy Forum and like-minded groups all around the country to lead an opportunity renaissance that speaks to the dreams and aspirations of every American.”

“South Carolina needs an organization that will develop a broad spectrum of well-researched policies, rooted in conservative principles and promoted in a positive, coalition-building way.  There is no reason why South Carolina cannot lead the nation in passing market-based policies that we know form the foundation of long-term economic and social success.  On behalf of the Board, we look forward to the work ahead,” said Founding Board Member, Mike Brenan.

Forum Senior Fellow, Dr. Oran Smith said, “An opportunity like Palmetto Policy comes along once in a lifetime. I am honored to add a portfolio at The Forum to my duties as president of Palmetto Family. Positive, conservative but winsome policy entrepreneurship is what South Carolina needs, and that is what Jim DeMint and The Forum represent.”

Forum President Ellen Weaver added, “Our challenge – and opportunity – is to develop principle-based policies and to promote them in a way that connects back to the shared values of people all over South Carolina.  By promoting best-practice conservative ideas from around our state and nation, we can show the way forward to increased opportunity for all. It has been an honor to serve in the DeMint office for the past 12 years and I am humbled to have now been asked to oversee this exciting new venture.  I look forward to the chance to work with our board, staff and South Carolina leaders to launch positive policy solutions for the future of our state and those willing to follow South Carolina’s lead.”

The Forum’s website is now live at palmettopolicy.org. They are also on Twitter at twitter.com/palmettopolicy.

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