July 31, 2014
Christian Camara

Christian Cámara leads the free-market think tank's Florida operation. The group focuses on insurance and government regulations.

Photo: Ray Stanyard

Integrity Florida

From left: Ben Wilcox, research director; Nicole Krassner, creative director; and Dan Krassner, executive director. The think tank focuses on ethics and transparency in government.

Photo: Ray Stanyard

Florida Next Foundation

Alex Sink formed Florida Next after losing her bid for governor against Rick Scott. Ned Pope runs day-to-day operations.

Photo: Mark Wemple

Broadsky DeFoor

Deborrah Brodsky, left, and Allison DeFoor hope to persuade lawmakers to reform the state's criminal justice system.

Photo: Ray Stanyard

Tarren Bragdon

"I think you've seen with the think tank movement on the right and the left to go from idea to implementation you want use every idea in your toolkit — and that has caused the industry to be much more aggressive," says President and CEO Tarren Bragdon

Photo: Ray Stanyard

Florida's Think Tanks - Newcomers

Florida has a cadre of think tanks determined to help shape the state's policies.

Amy Keller | 10/7/2013

R Street Institute - Tallahassee

2012 Revenue: $792,000

Key Personnel: President and co-founder Eli Lehrer, Florida director Christian Cámara and senior fellow Don Brown, an insurance agent from DeFuniak Springs. Lehrer is former vice president of the Heartland Institute and a former speechwriter for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Cámara, a former Florida House aide and GOP field coordinator, previously held the same position with the Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Brown, a former Republican member of the Florida House, is a lobbyist.

Funding Sources: Corporations and foundations, with a small portion from individuals

About: The Washington, D.C.-based free-market think tank focuses primarily on insurance and regulatory issues but also weighs in on school choice, the environment and other free-market issues. The Florida branch was launched last year by a group of staffers of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute who split from that group. The group focuses on issues related to reforming the state-run insurer Citizens, the CAT fund and the overall regulatory environment. A feather in the group’s cap this past legislative session was passage of a provision that will bar Citizens from insuring new construction along the coast.

 

Integrity Florida - Tallahassee

2012 Revenue: $15,950

Key Personnel: Husband and wife Dan and Nicole Krassner, and Mike Dema, now assistant city attorney for St. Petersburg. Dan Krassner, the group’s executive director, served as chief strategy and communications officer for the Florida Chamber of Commerce and was vice president of communications for Florida TaxWatch. Nicole Krassner is creative director. Ben Wilcox, former executive director of Common Cause Florida, is the group’s research director.

Funding Sources: Grants and grassroots contributions. The group has doubled its revenue for 2013. Donors are disclosed on its website.

About: Integrity Florida promotes ethics and transparency in government. Since it launched January 2012, the group has issued 10 reports. The ethics bill that passed last session contained several recommendations from those reports, including calls for greater public access to officials’ financial disclosure reports. In February, the group issued a report taking aim at the state’s economic development agency, Enterprise Florida, for its “pay-to-play” contracting practices, but the study caused a schism among the group’s board of directors, some of whom objected to the fact that the report was funded in part by Americans for Prosperity, run by the politically active billionaire Koch brothers. Krassner says independence is central to his group’s brand and approach and that he’s “proud of our diverse funders, board of directors and focus on policy, rather than politics.”

Tags: Florida's Think Tanks

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