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Yankee Institute Gets New President

by Brian Woodman Jr. | Jun 5, 2014 4:30am
(14) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Nonprofits, Transparency, East Hartford

Courtesy of the Yankee Institute New Canaan resident Carol Platt Liebau took over the reins of the conservative Yankee Institute for Public Policy last month as its new president.

Liebau replaces Fergus Cullen, the former head of the New Hampshire Republican Party, who was the institute’s executive director for the last five years.

Former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, who chairs the Yankee Institute’s board of directors, said Liebau was chosen from a group of about 30 candidates from across the country. When Cullen was interviewed for the job he was the only candidate.

That’s a testament to how far the organization has come over the years with establishing itself as a reputable nonprofit think-tank, Simmons said.

Liebau, who was one of five candidates interviewed for the position, was chosen partly because she lives in Connecticut, Simmons said. He said Cullen did a great job, but his residency in New Hampshire was problematic for the organization.

Simmons said Liebau stood out from the rest of the candidates for her fundraising ability, which is crucial for the nonprofit organization that is funded by private individuals and foundations.

“She has an engaging personality,” he said. “She’s willing to reach out.”

In a phone interview earlier this week, Simmons said he was impressed with her background as a published writer. She was the first female managing editor of the Harvard Law Review and published Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!) in 2007.

Liebau is an attorney, author, political and policy advisor, and media commentator, according to her biography.

In addition to practicing law, she has served as legislative assistant to Sen. Christopher “Kit” Bond of Missouri; as a consultant to the U.S. Senate campaigns of John D. Ashcroft (1994) and Congressman Tom Campbell (2000 and 2010); and as law clerk to Reagan appointee Judge David B. Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She has been a guest radio talk show host for the nationally-syndicated “Hugh Hewitt Show” and for KABC radio in Los Angeles.

But beyond her national public policy and media credentials Liebau is a woman.

“I am concerned as chairman with broadening the appeal of our fiscally conservative policies,” Simmons said. “We are not attracting enough women to the organization.”

Liebau will be the first female president of the organization, which has been operating since 1984. She will oversee a staff of two.

“My principles and values are closely aligned with those of the Yankee Institute, which is dedicated to improving lives through freedom and opportunity,” Liebau said. “Just as freedom is a necessary condition for the flourishing of the human spirit, it’s likewise important to take care of those who truly cannot care for themselves.”

She said that operating in a traditionally “blue” state such as Connecticut “creates great opportunities, but unfortunately at the cost of providing a living example of the misery that high taxes and overregulation create.”

The Yankee Institute put its organization on the map in 2010 when it created their own database of state spending called CTSunlight.org. It was able to get the state to follow suit with their own website www.transparency.ct.gov in 2011. It then started its own news website called Raising Hale, which is operated by its founding editor Zachary Janowski.

It has also filed and lost a lawsuit challenging some of Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s executive orders.

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(14) Comments

posted by: Commuter | June 5, 2014  6:02am

Looks like a major upgrade from out-of-state political operative Cullen.

That said, Liebau betrays the fact that nothing is really changing: “I am concerned as chairman with broadening the appeal of our fiscally conservative policies,” Simmons said. “We are not attracting enough women to the organization.” In other words, the Yankee Institute will continue to be a cog in the right-wing propaganda machine, not actually “thinking” about anything.

And she is being quite disingenuous when she says “...it’s likewise important to take care of those who truly cannot care for themselves.”

One cannot be the head of a right-wing organization (think tank or propagandist) and actually support this statement (whether one believes it or not), because the core agenda is to make government small enough to drown it in the bathtub; and the largest ongoing cost of government other than education is caring for such people. For that matter, one of the largest single financial challenges within education is who will pay to educate and train such people.

Alas, misleading flackery “right” out of the gate.

posted by: UConnHoop | June 5, 2014  6:24am

Congrats and best of luck in taking over a very important organization in this state.  I hope you can grow into a staff of 10 in the near future.  God knows that would benefit CT greatly.

posted by: IOU | June 5, 2014  9:52am

IOU

Go Carol.

posted by: Salmo | June 5, 2014  11:03am

Hey, Commuter. Terrific commentary!

posted by: GuilfordResident | June 5, 2014  2:20pm

Hey Commuter, if your tax burden were lower, you could donate YOUR money to any organization of your choice. I’d gladly donate to organizations important to me beyond what I already do. Preschool care for all would not be one of them.

posted by: CT Jim | June 5, 2014  2:31pm

Institute of what? They are a far right wing group of radicals who put out slanted views that mix up fact with fiction in order to get their message to masses of right wing nut jobs that spew their talking points around like it’s the gospel.Do you also announce when left wing think tanks bring in new blood to tend to the sheep?

posted by: Joebigjoe | June 5, 2014  3:08pm

Commuter and Salmo I disagree. She is saying what I have said here many times. We are not doing nearly enough for those that cant help themselves and far too much for those that need to get off the dole.

posted by: Christine Stuart | June 5, 2014  3:24pm

Christine Stuart

CT Jim you continue to shoot the messenger in your comments. We do stories about people coming and going all the time on both sides of the aisle. Next time, one of the organizations you believe is comparable hires new leadership we would be happy to do a story. Just let me know or have them send a press release and we’ll set up an interview.

posted by: Not that Michael Brown | June 5, 2014  5:01pm

Great job Central Casting.

posted by: Bulldog1 | June 6, 2014  2:58pm

Let’s see how the wealthy lady from New Canaan works to convince the low wage women workers all over Connecticut how the freedom to work for even less is the way to go.  Or if she even knows anything about how such people struggle to survive ecomically.

Freedom’s great as long as the checkbook is flush.

posted by: NoNonsense2014 | June 7, 2014  1:25pm

Does anyone besides me think she looks like Martha Dean?

posted by: Historian | June 7, 2014  5:42pm

The real issue here is digging a sizeable chunk of Ct out of near hereditary poverty. That means jobs that the average Ct person can do but Ct does not provide.
  Most of the current babble is about prekindergarden and other education gimmicks that, if any work, will do no good for another ten - fifteen years plus as the newly brilliant students begin to enter the job market. Not going to happen…
  We can, however,  count on more and more class jealousy and Venezuelan “Democracy” and rhetoric until we all run out of toilet paper..
“”

posted by: Bulldog1 | June 9, 2014  10:23am

And the only way to dig anybody out of poverty is with jobs, real jobs.

posted by: art vandelay | June 9, 2014  3:07pm

art vandelay

@Bulldog1,
I strongly suggest contacting Senator Blumenthal about creating good paying jobs in this state. He articulated it SO WELL in his debate w/Linda McMahon who has actually created thousands.  How many has he created since he’s been in office. I wish Carol Platt the best of luck in her new position.