State Policy Network
Tony Woodlief

Tony Woodlief

Senior Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow, Center for Practical Federalism

Tony Woodlief is State Policy Network’s Senior Executive Vice President and Senior Fellow for SPN’s Center for Practical Federalism. He helps oversee SPN operations, supports SPN’s president in her guidance of the leadership team, and helps ensure the organization’s projects and programs measure success, evolve as SPN grows, and maintain alignment with our vision and mission.

Tony previously served as president of the Bill of Rights Institute, and before that the Market-Based Management Institute. He has also served as president of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. An alumnus of the University of North Carolina, he has a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Michigan, and an MFA from Wichita State University. Tony has appeared in media outlets including Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, National Review, and C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

Tony is also the author of I, Citizen: A Blueprint for Reclaiming American Self-Governance. In writing I, Citizen, Tony conducted extensive research on American public opinion to find out what Americans believe and uncover the source of their political animosities. Through his research, Tony discovered that America is more united than divided, despite what the pundits tell us, and traced the source of our perceived animosity to a small minority of dedicated partisans within the political establishment of Washington, DC. I, Citizen tells the story of how these partisans have created the myth of a divided America and how they’ve concentrated power in the hands of unelected bureaucrats and partisan elites, and offers practical solutions for how we can reclaim our right to self-governance by focusing on solutions and commonalities closer to home.

Op-eds and Commentary

Avoiding the Tyranny of Federal ‘Guidance’
Tony Woodlief in Governing | April 26, 2024

Politicians’ Backstabbing Family Members are the Worst
Tony Woodlief in Spectator World  | October 30, 2022

The Right’s New Divide: Frodo versus Boromir
Tony Woodlief in Spectator World  | October 4, 2022

America Doesn’t Need to Argue Less, It Needs to Argue Better
Tony Woodlief at RealClearBooks | June 2, 2022

An Un-American accusation
Tony Woodlief in Spectator World | May 30, 2022

Beware, Party Bosses, the Rise of the Unaffiliateds is Coming For You
Tony Woodlief in The Washington Post | April 14, 2022

The Myth of Our Coming National Divorce
Tony Woodlief in Spectator World | March 22, 2022

Let Our Communities Lead
Tony Woodlief at National Review | March 4, 2022

The Rise of the Interloping Radicals
Tony Woodlief in Spectator World  | January 19, 2022

Repairing Citizenship
A Review of Tony Woodlief’s Book I, Citizen at Law & Liberty | January 18, 2022

Independent Voters are Alive and Well—and Angrier Than Ever
Tony Woodlief in The New York Post  | December 11, 2021

Is America in ‘a Cold Civil War’? Not at All.
Governing | October 8, 2021

State Bans on Critical Race Theory Won’t Work
The Wall Street Journal | August 20, 2021

All Agree: Better Voting Access and Security Are Needed
Real Clear Politics | September 11, 2021

Free Speech Absolutism Killed Free Speech
The Wall Street Journal | September 7, 2020

The Overlooked Potential of State AGs for Police Reform
Governing | June 15, 2020


The Fragility of Citizenship
Tony Woodlief with Victor Davis Hanson on Center for Civil Society’s webinar | December 8, 2022

The Rise of Independents 
Tony Woodlief on the Michael Smerconish Show | April 19, 2022

Can Federalism Save America?
A Conversation with Fox News’ Guy Benson and Tony Woodlief | March 24, 2022

The Rise of the Independent Voter
Tony Woodlief on Wake Up Columbia with Branden Rathert (Missouri) | February 9, 2022

Is America Divided?
Tony Woodlief on the Moon Griffon Show (Louisiana) | February 9, 2022

Reclaiming American Self-Governance
Tony Woodlief on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal | December 23, 2021

Independent voters ANGRIER than ever, will the parties SMARTEN UP and find better 2024 candidates?
Tony Woodlief on The Hill TV | December 17, 2021

How Americans Can Reclaim Self-Governance
Tony Woodlief on the Michael Berry Show | December 17, 2021

I, Citizen Takeaways
Tony Woodlief on the Jim Bohannon Radio Show | December 6, 2021

The Rise of Independents
Tony Woodlief on the Lars Larson Show | November 15, 2021

Election 2021 and the Rise of the Independent Voter
Tony Woodlief on Fox News Radio | November 9, 2021

State Bans on Critical Race Theory
Tony Woodlief on the David Webb Show | August 27, 2021


State Policy Network: State-Based Infrastructure for Freedom
Tony Woodlief on the Future of Freedom Podcast | July 12, 2022

Tony Woodlief: I, Citizen
Tony Woodlief on the Civil Squared Podcast | December 13, 2021

What Does ‘Self-Governance’ Look Like In The Era Of Community Decay?
Tony Woodlief on The Federalist Podcast | December 13, 2021

Podcast: Can American Self-Governance Be Saved?
Tony Woodlief on the Spectator Podcast | December 8, 2021

I, Citizen: A Blueprint for Reclaiming American Self‐​Governance
Tony Woodlief on the Cato Daily Podcast | December 7, 2021

Episode 381: I, Citizen by Tony Woodlief
Tony Woodlief on National Review’s Bookmonger Podcast | December 6, 2021