In November 2020, Bill Walsh of White Bear Lake, Minnesota joined Center of the American Experiment as the director of communications. We sat down with Bill to learn more about his background, favorite policy issue, and his thoughts on the next opportunity for the state-based freedom movement.
Bill: Before joining American Experiment, I was the director of public affairs at the Minnesota State Republican Caucus. Before that, I spent years in campaigns, providing counsel and public affairs services for governors, state commissioners, legislative leaders, and candidates at all levels.
Bill: I’ve been involved in campaigns, elections, and legislative sessions for a long time. I wanted to move on to the next thing. My original timeline was to finish the election and then start looking. But last June I heard about this opening at American Experiment. And you don’t always get to pick the timing. This is such a great opportunity and such a good fit for me—American Experiment’s mission and values line up with my own, and this communications role matches my skillset. I’m grateful this opportunity popped up, and American Experiment was even accommodating and let me finish the election before coming on board.
Bill: I’m like any other kid that grew up in the 1980s. Ronald Reagan was the first president I got to vote for. I’m definitely a Reagan disciple. And I was interning in DC in 1987 when he was president. More than anything, that’s probably it.
Bill: Education. That’s actually what I studied in college. I earned a music degree and wanted to be a band director. But in 2002, when Governor Tim Pawlenty was elected, I went to work for him at the State Department of Education. During his administration, I worked on school choice and academic standards and accountability. Education policy can have a significant impact on jobs, business, culture, and society as a whole.
Bill: For years people fighting for school choice have had an uphill battle because parents are generally happy with their public schools and their child’s teacher. The coronavirus has eroded that a little bit. The curtain has been pulled back on who really runs schools around the country. I think there’s huge opportunities for education reform and school choice.
Additionally, I think there’s short-term opportunities in election reform. I think we’re going to focus on that a little bit here in Minnesota. I’m not talking about “there was fraud in the election,” but there were irregularities, and this is a good opportunity to make policy changes to address that problem.
Bill: Americans’ willingness to not question enough. Especially if you look at the coronavirus. Take Minnesota, for example. The governor has issued a number of executive orders that take away freedom, yet there is a general sentiment of acceptance. People in Minnesota and around the country are just accepting these edicts. That’s a threat. And I don’t know if it’s a comfort thing because things have been so good in our country and our state. But it’s a little scary that people are willing to accept these things without pushing back.
Bill: I love being able to combine a skillset with a passion. And I’m fortunate to have a purpose driven job, where I feel like I’m making a difference in people’s lives.
Bill: I like to walk and exercise. I hope to play golf next summer because there’s no election on my calendar. My favorite thing in the world is to play golf with my dad and brothers. Last February we got together in Arizona and played 18 holes at this amazing golf course.
Bill: Gin and tonic. Tanqueray gin. Cheers!
Follow Bill on Twitter here.