Emily Wismer policy specialistWe are pleased to welcome Emily Wismer to the SPN team as our new policy specialist. In her role, she’ll work closely with state think tanks to develop transformational policy efforts, leverage state-based research, and cultivate high-performing policy leaders at the state level. Emily will also have a policy focus on job creation and entrepreneurship, and she will use this expertise to work alongside state think tanks on crafting and advancing solutions in those areas.

State think tanks will soon hear from Emily as she reaches out to get to know them and their work. In the meantime, here are a few more details about Emily’s background and her focus at SPN to help you learn a little about her.

SPN: How did you first get involved in the freedom movement? What has your prior work experience been?

Emily: I stumbled upon the freedom movement while working on budget, tax, and education policy for US Senator John Cornyn. I was impressed by the movement’s ability to both develop excellent free-market research and solutions to relevant policy issues and communicate those solutions in a way that impacts change. It was a match made in heaven, and I left the Hill to do policy research.

Most recently, I served as Assistant Director of State Outreach at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University where I built relationships with policymakers and educational nonprofits. I also strategized policy solutions and academic research needs, briefed scholars of upcoming policy issues, and informed policy-making with peer-reviewed research. Prior to that, I produced research papers, briefings, media presentations, and op-eds on energy and international women’s issues as a Policy Analyst at the Independent Women’s Forum.

SPN: Was there a moment or a role model that inspired you to choose work that’s dedicated to the cause of freedom and human flourishing?

Emily: I would say my inspiration was consistent, gradual, and tied integrally with my faith. Growing up in Texas, my Dad and I would listen to NPR and then talk about what we heard. He would ask me what I thought of the issue and then challenge my policy solutions by sharing their impacts on people. Through 4-H and in high school, I loved legislative simulations and stories of people in servant leadership making an impact on others lives. A professor at Texas A&M gave me a deep interest of the complexity of policy making and quantitative analysis. While working against human trafficking in Kolkata and Texas, I saw the impact that rule of law, personal freedom, and a peaceful society can have on the lives of the most disadvantaged.

SPN: What will your focus be as a policy specialist at SPN? What are you looking forward to most in this role?

Emily: I work directly with state think tanks to develop transformational policy efforts and cultivate high-performing policy leaders at the state level. I also serve as a policy advisor to state think tanks in their efforts to remove barriers to job creation and entrepreneurship in their state. I help groups strengthen the quality of their research, use research to promote state-based solutions (government affairs), and catalyze a collaborative movement to promote strong jobs policies amongst the states.

I am most looking forward to working with so many talented groups and individuals. SPN’s members are doing the best work in the country promoting free-market, state-based solutions to policy problems, and I am looking forward to contributing to that momentum.

SPN: What current issue or policy is nearest and dearest to your heart?

Emily: I’ve focused most of my career on jobs, the economy, and fiscal issues. I love how free-market solutions don’t just impact the jobs report but remove burdens from people, so they can pursue their passions, thrive and succeed, and build the kind of life they desire for themselves and their family. Similarly, I am interested in immigration policy and its impacts on quality of life, as well as on the economy.

SPN: When you’re not improving the world at work, where are you likely to be found? What are your favorite hobbies and pastimes?

Emily: I cannot get enough sunshine! I love being outside—cooking outside, reading outside, hiking, rock climbing, gardening, and doing yoga. I live in a diverse neighborhood and volunteer with disadvantaged youth from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras with a local nonprofit.