Jim Waters is president at the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions. Waters spent more than two decades in newspapers and radio stations as a reporter, editor and anchor.
Since coming to the institute in 2003, Waters’ articles have been published statewide and in national publications, including the Wall Street Journal. He has also appeared on CNN television. Waters’ weekly column, the “Bluegrass Beacon,” appears in newspapers across the commonwealth, including the Paducah Sun, Elizabethtown News-Enterprise, Danville Advocate-Messenger and Corbin Times-Tribune.
Vice President of Strategic Partners
Kelly Smith graduated in 1995 from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. As an undergraduate, she spent two summers in Washington D.C., first with the Congressional office of John Boehner and then interning with the office of the House Conference Committee. With experience in both the political and policy, as well as the private sector, Kelly began her career working for Congressman Martin Hoke’s 1996 re-election bid (OH-6th District), then worked for the Ohio Republican Party where she served as Finance Associate, and then as Field Representative for Congressman John Boehner (OH-8th District).
Kelly helped to organize the successful 1998 Governor’s Gala for then Ohio Governor Bob Taft and coordinated Congressman Boehner’s yearly Farm Forum event bringing together farmers and agri-businesses from all over Ohio and neighboring states. Her private sector experience includes serving as Research Associate for LexisNexis in Dayton, Ohio.
During her first year with the Bluegrass Institute as Director of Development, funding increased by 59% over the previous year. In 2011, she completed the Atlas Economic Research Foundation’s Think Tank MBA program.
Logan Morford is a graduate of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. As Vice President of Transparency, Morford coordinates projects that promote openness in government and education.
In 2011, Morford authored the report “Rewarding Failure” which analyzes how several school district superintendent evaluations in Kentucky are “rubber-stamped” by providing glowing reviews while neglecting to address the academic performance failures of their districts.
Richard Innes, the education analyst for the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, brings a uniquely independent viewpoint to public education research, approaching those studies from a parent-oriented viewpoint. Innes has been investigating Kentucky education since 1994. In 1999, his research highlighted significant problems with exclusion of learning disabled students from the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Cautions about those problems now are found in recent reports from that testing program, while research still continues on ways to correct these issues.
His many reports, papers, blogs and videos about the shortcomings of Kentucky’s school assessment program, known as CATS, played a role in the 2009 legislative decision to discontinue that program. Innes’ most recent full-length reports for the institute include: “How Blacks and Whites Perform in Jefferson County Public Schools” and “Examining Kentucky’s ‘No Child Left Behind’ Tier 5 Schools” and “Digital Learning Now!: Obstacles to Implementation in Kentucky.”
Nick Oberg went to elementary school in Louisville, and has been a Lexington resident since 1997. His experiences as a student in both the Jefferson and Fayette County School Systems has led to a dedication to improving education for all Kentuckians. With diverse experience on several award winning films, years of audio and music recording, and his unique perspective on graphic design, Oberg hopes to bring all the tools of “New Media” to restoring our government to one for the people, and by the people.
Philip Impellizzeri attended high school in Louisville, KY and earned his MA in economics from George Mason University outside Washington D.C. He has been passionate about the liberty movement since his undergraduate days at Washington University in St. Louis where he was exposed to such pivotal economists as Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. In the summer of 2011, Impellizzeri worked for the Institute, authoring numerous articles and a press release concerning state corporate income taxes. Over the fall of 2011, Impellizzeri worked on the Economic Freedom Project at the Charles Koch Institute, completing research and academic analysis for how economic freedom promotes well-being. He has been full-time at the Bluegrass Institute since 2012 and specializes in issues related to energy and Kentucky coal.
Dr. John Garen, Chair
Gatton Endowed Professor of Economics, University of Kentucky
Dr. Cathy Carey
Professor of Economics, Western Kentucky University
Dr. Stephan Gohmann
BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise, University of Louisville
Dr. Eric D. Schansberg
Professor of Economics, Indiana University Southeast
Dr. Brian Strow
BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism, Western Kentucky University
Caleb Brown is no longer associated with the Bluegrass Institute in any capacity.