A year like no other
American Experiment has enjoyed unprecedented levels of success, inside and out.
2017 was a banner year for Center of the American Experiment, as we influenced events in Minnesota as never before. Here are a few of the highlights:
We grew and trended younger in 2017, as we hired Policy Fellow Catrin Thorman, Economist John Phelan, and Donor Relations and Events Coordinator Pari Cariaga. All have been great additions to our team.
We sponsored a full slate of public events, beginning in January with Diana Furchtgott-Roth, who explained why liberal policies are bad for young people. In May, Howard Root told the riveting story of his unjust (and, happily, unsuccessful) prosecution by the Department of Justice to a soldout crowd. Senator Tom Cotton highlighted the Center’s Annual Dinner in June. Our Fall Briefing, in October, featured Mark Steyn and a crowd of 1,000 at the Guthrie Theater. November saw both our final lunch forum of the year, starring Star Parker, and a roast of Mitch Pearlstein, honoring his many years as founder and leader of American Experiment.
In April, we kicked off our Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree project with a public event featuring political economist Nick Eberstadt. In September, we released a paper by Dr. Amanda Griffith that showed many occupations that do not require four-year college degrees (carpenters, CNC programmers, electricians, etc.) earn more over a career in Minnesota than the median four-year graduate.
Just after Memorial Day, we released a report on Twin Cities congestion by Randal O’Toole. We bought billboards, including one at the intersection of Highways 494 and 35W, to publicize the fact that Twin Cities congestion is much worse than in comparable cities, and is the result of political decisions by unelected agencies. We passed out bumper stickers, sponsored traffic reports and played 30-second radio ads on stations around the metro area.
We led the fight for freedom from unwanted unions on behalf of personal care attendants, many of whom, informed of their legal options, have now left the union.
Katherine Kersten’s cover story in the fall issue of Thinking Minnesota on left-wing political indoctrination in the public schools.
In October, we also published a paper on the failure of wind energy in Minnesota, authored by Steven Hayward and Peter Nelson that ignited a vigorous debate over energy and electricity rates.
In November, John Phelan updated last year’s report by Dr. Joseph Kennedy on Minnesota’s economy with a paper titled “The State of Minnesota’s Economy 2017: Performance continues to be lackluster.” Thanks to the Center’s efforts, more and more Minnesotans are catching on to the fact that our state’s economic performance is nowhere near as strong as is commonly alleged.
The end of the year saw one bittersweet change. Vice President and Senior Policy Fellow Peter Nelson left us to take a position in the Department of Health and Human Services, where he will have broad responsibility for federal health care regulation.
American Experiment doesn’t just produce policy papers. We are in the communications business, as well, and we are getting our messages to more Minnesotans than ever. Through various media, everything from billboards to op-eds to radio to television to videos and more, we connected with Minnesotans more than 30 million times last year. We published more than 100 different op-eds in over 90 newspapers. We placed issue ads on more than 90 radio stations. Thinking Minnesota continues to grow, with a circulation of 80,000 for the fall issue. Our website, AmericanExperiment.org, more than doubled its traffic over 2016.
And we are just getting warmed up. Wait until you see what we have on tap for 2018!