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About the Rainier Institute.

The Rainier Institute is a non-partisan progressive think tank founded by retired Governor Booth Gardner, past Congressman and WADOT Director Sid Morrison and former State Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge.

Formed in 2001 out of a desire to respond to Washington State’s lack of political leadership, its board includes policy experts and officials from all 3 branches of state and local government. The Rainier Institute uses a variety of progressive and pragmatic methods to implement real solutions to problems that personally affect all Washington State residents. Recent work focused on public education, health care, initiative reform, and children’s services.

The Rainier Institute is a public policy research organization that is committed to moving beyond endless discussions by generating real solutions to tough problems affecting Washington residents.

State government has repeatedly failed to act on important issues. The Institute was founded in 2001 to fill a void in Washington’s political landscape by serving as a pragmatic and progressive catalyst for actions that can actually be implemented.

The Institute is founded on the philosophy that by working outside of government, leaders often have the best ability to push the envelope and affect real reform in key policy areas. Its board consists of a bipartisan and geographically diverse array of public policy experts and current and former leaders from all three branches of state government.

In 2005, the Institute’s top issues are public education, healthcare, transportation, and initiative reform.

Institute activities include: conducting research on issues; publishing white papers and articles and hosting symposia and other discussion forums. In 2004, the Institute is planning to launch a Training Academy for helping newly elected officials acquire the skills they need to successfully navigate Washington’s legislative and budgeting process and work with interest groups and the public.

Approach to issues

The Institute’s members raise issues and proposed solutions for review in membership meetings and public discussions. Focused on developing concrete and actionable policy directives, the Institute’s discussion forums include two to three large events each year as well as smaller conferences and gatherings.

How can you contribute?

The Rainier Institute is committed to establishing itself as vital participant in Washington’s dialogue on important public policy issues. In addition to attending events and sharing views and information, the Institute welcomes financial contributions in support of its missions. Institute funding is generated through charitable contributions as well as public and private grants. Sponsorships are an important source of funding for events and projects.

2005-6 Issue Areas

Healthcare — A top focus of the Institute is designing solutions for improving healthcare access. It is unacceptable that many of Washington’s residents are uninsured, living on the fragile hope that nothing goes wrong with their or their families’ health. Other key challenges include controlling costs and ensuring access to care for children.

Initiative reform - The Institute will respond to the growing need and public demand for reform of Washington’s initiative process, including greater restrictions on the use of initiatives for appropriations and budgeting and initiatives with multiple subjects.

Transportation - Gridlock on Washington’s roads and in the Legislature can’t be allowed to undermine our quality of life and economy. The Institute will work to identify effective approaches for enabling state and local governments to build and maintain roads, increase public transit options and improve freight mobility.

Public Education - The Rainier Institute is committed to addressing the political processes that underlie policies, profoundly affecting funding decisions and outcomes. It’s time to examine the adequacy of funding for our public schools to meet the goals of education reform.

Other policy areas the Rainier Institute will explore include growth management, children’s services, criminal justice and environmental regulation.


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The Rainier Institute shut down in 2005. For questions about this web site contact Chad Lupkes

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