Corry will be taking over for Jason Mercier, who is leaving to take a management position with the Idaho-based Mountain States Policy Center
The Center Square Washington
The Washington Policy Center has named Rep. Chris Corry, R-Yakima, as its new director of the Center for Government Reform.
He will be taking over for Jason Mercier, who is leaving to take a management position with the Idaho-based Mountain States Policy Center that focuses on Eastern Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.
“For a lot of people, budget policy is just about the numbers – and obviously, it’s essential to get those right,” Corry said in a Tuesday news release from the free-market think tank. “But we can’t lose track of the fact that budget policy is about people’s priorities – how we live our lives, what kinds of homes we can afford, the schools our kids attend, and whether the vulnerable are properly cared for. Being efficient with Washington state’s revenue is another way of saying you are being respectful of the people, because this money is coming from them.”
Mercier, who will be the vice president and director of research at MSPC, served as the director of WPC’s Center for Government Reform for nearly two decades, developing a reputation as a widely respected analyst who could make complicated state budget and tax matters more accessible to the general public.
“Non-partisan policy based on facts and not emotion is just what the country needs right now and MSPC is well positioned to help advance the debate in a constructive and respectful way,” Mercier said in an MSPC news release.
He went on to say, “MSPC has demonstrated a commitment to engaging in the policy debate the right way and I’m ready to help build on the dedication to federalism and a regional focus.”
The Center Square reached out to WPC to ask about any possible conflicts of interest in having a state lawmaker join its team.
David Boze, WPC’s director of communications and marketing, pointed out in an email response that Washington has a citizen legislature.
“By definition, that means that every legislator has another occupation and economic interest and the ethical standards for legislators reflect that,” he said. “Basically, every legislator has another job, and they vote on everything before the Legislature, including where their own interests are at stake.”
He noted that WPC has no economic interest as such.
“We are a 501(c)(3) and do not invest, build, or sell any product or good,” Boze explained. “We are a think tank. It is not possible for anyone who is a WPC employee to present a conflict of interest when we have zero organic/owned economic asset that benefits from our views. Again, that reality is consistent with the IRS structure for non-profit think tanks. We think and present policy analysis. We are not a company or an industry.”
The two parties did their due diligence, Boze noted.
“Both WPC and Mr. Corry sought legal advice from the relevant authorities concerning the parameters of an employment relationship before agreeing to move forward and will abide by each and every ethical rule under Washington law and the rules of the Legislature,” he said.
Corry starts at WPC on May 1. Mercier starts at MSPC on July 1.
This report was first published by The Center Square Washington.
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