Every year, our network grows a little more. Sometimes that growth comes in the form of new state think tanks just getting off the ground. Other times, growth happens when new leadership and talent join established think tanks and bolster their advancement of free-market solutions.

State Policy Network is pleased to welcome new chief executive officers who have taken the helm at think tanks in two opportunity-rich states this year—Louisiana and Nevada.



Daniel Erspamer, Pelican Institute for Public Policy

In October 2016, the network mourned the loss of Kevin Kane, who founded the Pelican Institute for Public Policy in 2008 and served as CEO until his death. The Pelican Institute and Kane’s legacy will continue to thrive under the new leadership of Daniel Erspamer, who joins the organization as CEO this summer.

As Louisiana’s free-market think tank, the Pelican Institute is the voice for workers, taxpayers, and citizens who believe the best pathway to prosperity for Louisianans is to remove government barriers to free enterprise, promote policies that create jobs and opportunity, and ensure access to quality education for every child.

“I’m pleased to serve as the new CEO of the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, and to carry on the legacy and vision of my friend and the Institute’s founder, the late Kevin Kane,” said Erspamer. “When Kevin founded the Pelican Institute in 2008, his vision was to unleash opportunity for every citizen of Louisiana by removing government barriers and ensuring access to quality education and jobs. It will be an honor to carry on Kevin’s vision and serve his legacy in the coming years.”

Before joining the Pelican Institute, Daniel served as vice president for strategic partnerships at State Policy Network. Prior to that, he served a variety of leadership and development roles at the national office of Americans for Prosperity and Americans for Prosperity Foundation.
He received a bachelor’s degree with honors in political economy and communication from Tulane University. Daniel and his wife, Emily (a graduate of Tulane University School of Law), have four children and reside in New Orleans.




John Tsarpalas, Nevada Policy Research Institute

As president of the Nevada Policy Research Institute, John is deeply committed to spreading limited government ideas and policy to create a better, more prosperous Nevada for all.

For more than three decades, John has educated others in the ideals and benefits of limited government. In the 1980s, John joined the Illinois Libertarian Party and served on its State Central Committee. Later in the 90s, he transitioned to the Republican Party, and became active in the Steve Forbes for President Campaign and the issue of flat taxes.

In 2005, he was recruited to become the executive director of the Illinois Republican Party. He graduated from the Republican National Committee’s Campaign College, the RNC’s Field Management School, and the Leadership Institute’s activist training.

Additionally, John has served as president of the Sam Adams Alliance and Team Sam where he worked on issue education and advocacy in more than 10 states, with a focus on digital strategies.

John also founded or helped start the following educational nonprofits: Think Freely Media, the Haym Salomon Center (where he served as chairman), the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, and Midwest Speaking Professionals.

A native of Chicago, John now lives in Las Vegas with his wife of 38 years. They have three daughters, and in his spare time, John enjoys trap shooting (while he still has the right), fishing, and public speaking.