Badger Institute grows team, moves to larger office

Nichols: Growth will allow even greater impact on key policy issues

CONTACT: Michael Jahr, Badger Institute vice president, at 262-442-5208 or at

Jan. 21, 2019 – The Badger Institute, a free-market public policy think tank that promotes opportunity and prosperity in Wisconsin, is adding to its team and moving to a larger office to accommodate the growth, Institute President Mike Nichols announced today.

“It’s an exciting time at the Badger Institute,” said Nichols. “We’re hiring some extremely talented and experienced people to bolster our policy analysis and fundraising efforts. This team will help us have an even greater impact on key issues that affect Wisconsin residents.”

The Institute’s policy priorities for 2019 include transportation funding, criminal justice reforms, occupational licensing regulations, a fair and competitive tax structure and the restoration of state and local control over areas that have been gradually subsumed by the federal government.

The recent personnel changes include:

Julie Grace, policy analyst in the Institute's Center for Opportunity. Grace will direct the research and reporting related to criminal justice, corrections and occupational licensing policies.

Grace most recently served as a policy and communications advisor to Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, where she coordinated press and media appearances and assisted in policy development in key issue areas.

Prior to that, she served as an editorial intern for Wisconsin Public Television and a graduate assistant at Marquette University in the O’Brien Fellowship in Public Service Journalism. From March 2017 to May 2018, while completing her master’s degree in communications at Marquette, Grace interned at the Badger Institute, researching and reporting on the state and local impact of federal grants as part of the Institute’s Project for 21st Century Federalism.

Kirsten Golinski, development associate. Golinski joins the fundraising and communications team supporting the Badger Institute’s public policy programs. Her focus is primarily on acquisition and stewardship efforts for individual donors.

Golinski graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in May 2018. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a minor in public policy & administration. Prior to joining the Badger Institute, she worked as a campaign field representative for the NRA-ILA in Missouri for the 2018 midterm elections.

Brad Wassink will serve as a consultant to the Badger Institute on a range of public policy and organizational issues, with emphasis on state/federal relationships and health and human services. Wassink most recently served as assistant deputy secretary at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.

Prior to that, he served as director of reform initiatives at the Wisconsin Department of Administration. Wassink joined the Walker administration from the American Enterprise Institute, where he supported work on domestic policy issues, with an emphasis on health and human services.

Dr. Ed Timmons will join the growing team of Badger Institute visiting fellows. Timmons is a professor of economics and director of the Knee Center for the Study of Occupational Regulation at Saint Francis University. He is one of the world's leading scholars on the effects of occupational regulation.

Timmons’ research has been published in The Journal of Law and Economics, the British Journal of Industrial Relations, The Journal of Labor Research and Monthly Labor Review. He has published several policy pieces for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and has also contributed several op-eds to U.S. News & World Report, USA Today and other publications.

The new office for the institute, which anticipates further growth in the coming year, is located at suite 301 of the Tannery Business Center, 700 W. Virginia St. in Milwaukee.