State Policy Network
America At Its Best – Live at Annual Meeting: Awards Night

SPN’s 29th Annual Meeting culminated in an awards ceremony recognizing the biggest wins for freedom of the year and two exceptional leaders in the Network who have made an impact in their states and beyond.

The Thomas Roe Award, the most prestigious honor of the Network, was awarded to Justin Owen, the CEO of the Beacon Center of Tennessee. The award pays tribute to SPN’s founder and goes to individuals whose achievements have greatly advanced free-market philosophy. It recognizes innovation, leadership, and accomplishment in public policy.

“It really is the honor of a lifetime. There is no pinnacle within our world than the Thomas Roe Award. We wouldn’t exist but for him and his vision. To receive an award named after him means so much to me,” said Justin.

In this interview, you can hear how he started his career as an intern at Beacon and came to build a successful team that is transforming lives in their state.

“Every single day is amazing…to wake up and do what we do. We truly have the best jobs in the world..to be able to really impact people’s lives in a way that you knows matters,” he said.

SPN also presented the Overton Award to Michael J. Reitz for his leadership at the Mackinac Center as executive vice president. The Overton Award recognizes those right-hand people who may not be in the spotlight, but whose leadership drives effective strategies and multiplies the impact of the organization.

It was a special night for the Mackinac Center, as the award is named after Joe Overton, who was the former senior vice president of Mackinac and died before his time. Under Mike’s leadership as EVP, Mackinac has achieved significant wins holding their governor accountable for overreach during the pandemic, as well as several multi-state wins for labor reform.

“Thank you to SPN for keeping Overton’s memory alive through this award,” he said. “The things that make America a wonderful place are the same things we love about SPN. It’s all about the ideas, liberty, and what can happen in the states. It’s what motivated our founders and motivates all of us to work with SPN.”

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America at Its Best features powerful stories of hope that bring you good news and groundbreaking solutions from the Network of 63 state-based organizations and over 90 national partners in the State Policy Network. Together, we accelerate the work of these organizations so that state solutions have national impact.

Organization: State Policy Network