Who am I, and Why am I Here?

My name is Paul Gessing and I am the new President of the Rio Grande Foundation. I have been in New Mexico working for the Foundation for three full weeks now and am finally getting around to introducing myself on this blog. I moved here from Washington, DC, where I headed up the lobbying efforts of the nation’s largest and oldest taxpayer advocacy organization, the National Taxpayers Union.
Although I spent more than eight years in Washington and am not a “native” of New Mexico, I am not a stranger to the “Land of Enchantment.” Most of my mom’s side of my family is from either Albuquerque or Santa Fe. I spent a great deal of time here over the years visiting my extended family. Although I have traveled around the state during many of these trips to visit Taos, the Very Large Array, and Farmington to name just a few, I look forward to getting to know the rest of the state.
As I work to move both the Rio Grande Foundation and the state of New Mexico forward, I will consistently look to our neighbors for guidance — specifically Colorado, Arizona, and Texas. Each of these states have uniquely positive political dynamics that are worth emulating ( they also happen to have healthy and well-run state level free market think tanks). Colorado, for example, is home of the Independence Institute, and the most effective spending limit in the country, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Texas is home to Texas Public Policy Institute, and the state has no income tax to chase productive citizens away. Lastly, Arizona is home to the Goldwater Institute. That state it is also the home of the greatest amount of educational freedom in the nation according to researcher Jay Greene.
In the months and years ahead, I will make it my life’s work to put New Mexico on a more free market path, thus raising the standards of living for all of the state’s citizens. The Rio Grande Foundation, and the state free market think tank movement are amazing and effective vehicles for these ideas and I look forward to coming up with new ideas for New Mexico-specific problems and bringing existing ideas that have proven effective elsewhere, to the state. I am looking forward to this unique and challenging opportunity!